Thursday, July 25, 2024

New Zealand PM explains ‘best little country’ foreign policy

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins made his first foreign policy speech on Friday since he took office six months ago, describing his nation as “the best little country in the world”.

The speech took place hours before Hipkins scheduled departure for Europe later in the day to witness the signing of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU), which will unlock New Zealand’s access to the world’s third-biggest market, reports Xinhua news agency.

In his Europe visit, Hipkins has also been invited to attend the NATO summit in Lithuania.

In his speech, the Prime Minister stressed on New Zealand’s “independent foreign policy approach”/

“It is important to stress at this point independent does not mean neutral,” he said, adding that, “as a country, we may be small, but we are not bystanders. We chart our own course, with decisions that are in our national interest”.

Regarding ties with Australia, Hipkins said the trans-Tasman relationship is the strongest it has been in decades.

On the New Zealand-US relationship, he expressed hopes that the current framework and initiative will open up greater opportunities for economic engagement between the two countries and the region as a whole.

The Prime Minister highlighted the collaboration on climate change with Pacific leaders and the rollout of climate finance of more than half a billion dollars in the Pacific region.

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