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PH, New Zealand vow to strengthen political, security, trade ties

PH, New Zealand vow to strengthen political, security, trade ties

The Philippines and New Zealand on Monday agreed to elevate their existing cooperation on political and security matters as well as to open new areas for trade and investment, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said on Monday.

This as Manalo had a meeting with New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Raymond Peters who is on official visit in the Philippines.

''We agreed to strengthen our existing mechanisms for cooperation on political, security and defense and labor, and to open new avenues for partnerships in trade and investment that leverage our respective strengths while promoting our national priorities, particularly on renewable energy and combating climate change,'' Manalo said during their joint press briefing.

''We welcomed the signing of the Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement (MLSA), a pivotal document that will greatly enhance future military engagements between our nations,'' Manalo added.

Manalo said the Philippines and New Zealand also agreed to undertake more frequent exchanges of high-level visits and to discuss ways to increase their connectivity through air flights and visas.

''In this regard, I expressed appreciation for New Zealand’s recognition of the vital contributions of the Philippine diaspora to New Zealand’s continued economic prosperity and the richness of its social fabric, and conveyed the hope that their government will ensure the well-being of our kababayans, including safeguarding their hard-earned social security pensions,'' Manalo said.

Manalo further thanked the government of New Zealand for its steadfast support over the challenges being faced by the Philippines in the South China Sea.

''We reaffirmed our continued commitment to uphold the rule of law as a pillar to achieving peace and security in the region,'' he said.

He also expressed confidence that New Zealand would remain a trusted partner in upholding the ASEAN centrality. — Anna Felicia Bajo/RSJ, GMA Integrated News