News Release

PH, NZ to enter into defense and maritime agreements to strengthen peace in Asia-Pacific region

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon reaffirmed on Thursday their commitment to maintaining and strengthening the defense engagements of the two countries while exploring new frameworks of cooperation to deepen ties.

In a joint statement, both President Marcos and Prime Minister Luxon, who is on an official visit to the Philippines, acknowledged the strong existing bilateral defense cooperation between the Philippines and New Zealand.

“Both sides committed to the signing of a Mutual Logistics Supporting Arrangement (MLSA) by the end of 2024, and to concluding a Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA),” the joint statement of the two leaders stated.

“The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to sustaining maritime security cooperation, including bilateral and multilateral activities at sea, port, calls/visits and capacity-building efforts,” the joint statement added.

Diplomatic ties between the Philippines and New Zealand span 57 years since its formal establishment on July 6, 1966. New Zealand serves as the second home to an estimated 79,998 Filipinos.

President Marcos and Prime Minister Luxon agreed to elevate the bilateral ties of the Philippines and New Zealand to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026.

As Pacific maritime nations, the two leaders also recognized the shared interest of the two countries in preserving peace and stability at sea as they look forward to cooperating on maritime law enforcement, including addressing common threats such as piracy, IUUF, maritime terrorism, among others.

They also supported further cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

They also acknowledged scope for further cooperation on transnational organized crime as they both welcomed the ongoing efforts to establish a memorandum of agreement on the reciprocal exchange of information in the management of trafficking in persons matters between the two countries.

The two leaders also agreed to explore further cooperation on combatting transnational crimes, specifically money laundering, online sexual abuse and exploitation of children, including through existing multilateral fora. |PND