Zubiri, NZ PM agree on need for free Indo-Pacific region

Zubiri, NZ PM agree on need for free Indo-Pacific region to spur economy

/ 05:26 PM April 19, 2024

Zubiri, New Zealand PM sees need for free, open Indo-Pacific region to spur economy

President Ferdinand “Bongbomg” Romualdez Marcos Jr. welcomes New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon at Malacañang during an arrival honors ceremony on Thursday, April 18,2024. Luxon will be in the country until April 20, 2024 for an official visit. (PPA POOL)

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon have agreed that maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region would be key to improving the economies in Southeast Asia and its partners.

In a statement, Zubiri said among the things discussed during his meeting with Luxon on Friday were the pursuit of deeper engagement between the two countries in terms of economy and security, particularly in the Indo-Pacific.


“We are especially interested in engaging New Zealand in deeper economic and agricultural cooperation,” Zubiri said after the luncheon he hosted for Luxon in Makati City


“We count on New Zealand as an ally in peacekeeping in the region, and toward this end, we hope to establish stronger security cooperation with them,” he added.

Zubiri said that Luxon affirmed that security concerns in Southeast Asia would affect its trading partners like New Zealand, even if they are not physically linked to the areas where tensions are rising.

“What affects you, affects us,” Luxon said, as relayed by Zubiri’s office.

The discussion on security matters comes after Luxon and President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr discussed enhanced defense agreements, which both countries expect to sign by the end of 2024.

The Mutual Logistics Supporting Arrangement (MLSA) is seen to improve defense logistics between the two countries, while the Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA) is meant to enhance defense cooperation.

Calls for a free and open Indo-Pacific were also made when Marcos went to the United States (US) for the first-ever trilateral summit between the Philippines, US, and Japan.


During the discussions, Washington reaffirmed its defense commitments to the Philippines — with US President Joe Biden reminding the world that any attack on a Philippine aircraft, vessel, or armed force in the South China Sea will trigger the Mutual Defense Treaty.

Aside from security topics, Zubiri also opened discussions about how the Philippines can learn from New Zealand’s experience as an agricultural hub, saying that the transfer of technologies between the two countries may lead to improvements on both sides.

“We have a lot to learn from New Zealand’s success as a global agricultural exporter. Coming from Bukidnon, which I always call the New Zealand of Mindanao, I am very eager to initiate more agricultural knowledge sharing, capacity building, and technology transfer initiatives between our countries,” he said.

Luxon’s last stop on his Southeast Asia tour was the Philippines. He was accompanied by parliament members Simon Watts, who is also Minister of Climate Change and Revenue, and Paulo Garcia, the first New Zealand Member of Parliament to have Filipino roots.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Zubiri, meanwhile, was accompanied by Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, Minority Leader Koko Pimentel; Senators JV Ejecito, Mark Villar, and Cynthia Villar; Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual; Anti-Red Tape Authority Director General Ernesto Perez; Agriculture Undersecretary Jerome Oliveros, and Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Kira Christianne Azucena.

TAGS: Economy, New Zealand

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.