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PM to visit Japan and Korea


2 May 2008

PM to visit Japan and Korea

Prime Minister Helen Clark will travel to Japan and Korea in May for meetings with the leaders of both countries to promote closer bilateral and regional co-operation.

Helen Clark will also address major business forums in both countries.

The Prime Minister will meet with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and other senior members of the Japanese Cabinet on 14 May.

“Our long-standing relationship with Japan is one of New Zealand’s most important, and Japan remains New Zealand‘s third largest export market. With two-way trade of NZ$7.3 billion, the economic links with Japan are valued highly. As democracies, we are also natural partners within the dynamic Asia-Pacific region,” Helen Clark said.

“It is important for Japan and New Zealand to ensure that our political and economic relationship keeps pace with developments in the wider region.

“This visit provides an opportunity to reaffirm the importance New Zealand places on maintaining close relations with Japan, and the need to work together to strengthen our co-operation further. A particular focus in both Japan and Korea will be how we can work together for good outcomes from the East Asia Summit in December.

“On 15 May I will give the keynote address at the inaugural Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum. This is a business-led initiative bringing together senior political figures, top executives, and opinion leaders.

“I will then travel to Korea, where I will meet with newly elected President Lee Myung-bak, and senior Cabinet Ministers on 16 May.

“New Zealand’s relationship with Korea is founded on strong political, economic, and security links. Korea is also a partner for New Zealand in the Asia-Pacific region.

“I will be seeking President Lee’s commitment to a shared vision for deepening the already strong and warm relationship between our countries.

“The two-way trading relationship is worth over NZ $2.4 billion and, with Korea’s dynamism, has strong growth potential. Korea is our 6th biggest export market,” Helen Clark said.

“New Zealand is also firmly committed to the stability of the Korean Peninsula. This is a useful opportunity to convey to the new Korean leadership New Zealand’s support for the Six Party Talks process and the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”, Helen Clark said.

ENDS

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