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PH, New Zealand PM discusses regional, global conflicts with Marcos

MANILA, Philippines, April 19 ------ President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. welcomed visiting New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to the Malacañang, where the two talked about various developments in the international community. 


In a joint statement, the two “shared serious concern” over worsening tensions in the South China Sea, where China has ramped up its harassment tactics against Philippine vessels. “They reaffirmed the need for all states to pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including dispute settlement mechanisms under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” read the statement released by the Presidential Communications Office. “The two leaders…reiterated their support for Association of Southeast Asian Nations-led efforts for the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct for South China Sea that upholds the legitimate rights and interests of all parties and is consistent with UNCLOS,” it added. 


The heads of government also called for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas fighters as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza Strip worsened. Similar concerns were also raised over Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and the deteriorating situation in Myanmar three years after a military coup. 


Elevating relations 

Luxon is in Manila for an official visit, and the Philippines is the last leg of his weeklong trip to Southeast Asia to enhance New Zealand’s trade links. In the last week, he had also been to Singapore and Thailand. In their meeting, Marcos and Luxon agreed to elevate the countries’ bilateral ties to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026, deepen their defense relationship by signing of the Mutual Logistics Supporting Arrangement by end of 2024, and conclude a Status of Visiting Forces Agreement. “The leaders directed their foreign ministers and relevant officials to put in place a roadmap to guide the establishment of the Comprehensive Partnership, including the elevation of the foreign ministry consultations to the vice ministerial level and the creation of new mechanisms including a joint economic commission and a maritime dialogue,” the joint statement read. “The two leaders emphasized the importance of further visa facilitation between the Philippines and New Zealand. The expected visit by New Zealand’s foreign minister to the Philippines later in 2024 would be an opportunity to progress discussions on the Comprehensive Partnership further,” it added. 




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