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Early Visit To Indonesia Strengthens Ties

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Minister Winston Peters held discussions in Jakarta about the future of relations between New Zealand and South East Asia’s most populous country.

“We are in Jakarta so early in our new government’s term to reflect the huge importance we place on our relationship with Indonesia and South East Asia as a region,” Mr Peters says.

Mr Peters held talks with Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and its Defence Minister and successful Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

“My discussions with Indonesia’s current Foreign Minister and future President indicate that we’re on track to build a strong relationship. We are focused with urgency on finding new, practical ways to work together for our nations mutual benefit.”

The current visit builds on other high-level engagement between Indonesia and New Zealand under the Coalition Government, following Vice-President Ma’Aruf Amin’s visit to New Zealand and Prime Minister Luxon’s meeting with President Joko Widodo in Melbourne last month. Minister Marsudi will make a return visit to New Zealand in May. This increased high-level engagement reflects the Coalition Government’s stepped-up focus on South East Asia and the Indo-Pacific.

“Indonesia is the fourth-largest country in the world, and an influential leader in the region. Indonesia matters to New Zealand - for our security, our trade, and as a key partner on regional and global issues,” Mr Peters says.

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Ministers discussed progress towards achieving the bilateral trade goal of NZ$4 billion by the end of 2024 as well as the level of ambition for the next target, including through enabling increased exports for horticulture and halal products, greater diversification, and growing education and tourism links.

“We look forward to signing an agreement for mutual recognition of halal products during Minister Marsudi’s upcoming visit to New Zealand. This will provide assurance for Indonesian consumers and New Zealand dairy and meat exporters, for whom Indonesia is an important market for halal products”.

Discussions in the meeting with Defence Minister and Indonesia’s future President, Prabowo Subianto focused on New Zealand-Indonesia relations in the coming years.

“We welcomed the opportunity to meet with Minister Prabowo to discuss strengthening our Comprehensive Partnership, including our long-standing defence and security interests, and to congratulate him on his successful campaign in Indonesia’s recent elections. We look forward to working with the next Administration once it takes office.”

With the visit falling during the holy month of Ramadan, Indonesia’s leadership role as the world’s largest Muslim majority country was a theme throughout Mr Peters' meetings, particularly during his visit to Istiqlal Mosque to acknowledge the fifth anniversary of the 15 March Christchurch terrorist attacks.

“We visited Istiqlal Mosque, the largest mosque in South East Asia, and met with Grand Imam Nasaruddin Umar. This was an important opportunity to pay our respects to the victims and their families, and to honour the survivors of the Christchurch terrorist attacks.

“Indonesia was the first country we visited following the March 15 attacks in 2019, and it was important for us to return to Jakarta on this anniversary to pay respects and offer thanks to the Indonesian Government and people.

“We also discussed Indonesia and New Zealand’s shared commitment to religious freedom and tolerance.”

Mr Peters acknowledged the importance of engaging with political and faith leaders in Indonesia, an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation country, on the crisis in Gaza as part of New Zealand’s broader efforts to work with partners across the globe, through the United Nations, and with our own affected communities at home to bring an end to the violence.

“New Zealand has taken a consistent principles-based approach to the crisis in Gaza. Indonesia and New Zealand agree on the urgent need to end the violence, protect civilians, promote a two-state solution, and provide safe and unimpeded humanitarian access."

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