New Zealand to invest over $186m in Asean
KUALA LUMPUR • New Zealand will invest more than 200 million NZ dollars (S$ 186 million) in Asean over the next three years, Prime Minister John Key said yesterday. New Zealand's formal relationship with Asean would be upgraded from a comprehensive partnership to a strategic partnership, he added.
New Zealand would focus on two key strategies. The "people strategy" would build opportunities for training and exchanges, and greater flows of people, with a focus on youth. The "prosperity strategy" would support Asean's drive to close the development gap with a focus on New Zealand's expertise in agriculture and trade.
Malaysia, Australia agree to elevate ties
KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia and Australia yesterday agreed to elevate their bilateral relations to a strategic partnership. The move came as 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of Australia's diplomatic presence in Malaysia.
In a joint statement issued yesterday, the two countries agreed to strengthen political engagement through annual meetings of foreign ministers to be underpinned by senior official talks and a strategic dialogue, and enhanced defence dialogue.
They also reaffirmed their commitment to bilateral cooperation in combating irregular migration, human trafficking and people smuggling.
Asean backs China's 'Belt and Road' initiative
KUALA LUMPUR • Asean supports China's "Belt and Road" initiative aimed at bringing greater connectivity and opportunities to the region, Asean Secretary-General Le Luong Minh said yesterday.
The initiative was in line with the grouping's objective of enhancing connectivity, not only among Asean countries, but also between Asean and dialogue partner countries, especially China, Mr Minh told Xinhua.
"(This) would be conducive to the further development of local investment, trade, tourism and overall economic cooperation, for Asean, for China and other countries concerned," he said.