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PH, NZ reaffirm respect for intl law

FOREIGN Affairs ministers of the Philippines and New Zealand have affirmed that respect for international law is vital in ensuring maritime security, peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

Secretary Enrique Manalo and visiting New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters raised the need for countries in the region to observe the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) to achieve maritime security.

In a joint statement, Peters and Manalo said they exchanged views on the Indo-Pacific region, including developments in the South China Sea.

Philippine Secretary for Foreign Affairs Enrique A. Manalo hosted New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Right Honourable Winston Peters in Manila. Photo from Department of Foreign Affairs FB page

«I thanked New Zealand for its steadfast support for the challenges we are facing in the South China Sea, and we reaffirmed our continued commitment to uphold the rule of law as a pillar to achieving peace and security in the region,» Manalo said in a speech.

They discussed «opportunities for growing mutually beneficial» two-way trade, investment and defense cooperation, including the negotiation and conclusion of a Status of Visiting Forces Agreement in 2024.

They welcomed the signing of the Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement (MLSA), which Manalo referred to as a «pivotal document that will greatly enhance future military engagements between [the two] nations.»


Peters and Manalo discussed the enduring friendship between New Zealand and the Philippines, shaped by nearly 60 years of diplomatic relations, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

They discussed steps toward elevating the Philippine-New Zealand relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership based on the Manila agreement in April 2024.

Manalo said that President Marcos Jr. and PM Luxon «agreed to elevate the relationship and cooperation between the Philippines and New Zealand, leading to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026, the year both countries mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties.»

«Our leaders tasked us, their foreign ministers, to lay down the roadmap to realizing these commitments. In this context,