MANILA, Nov 19 (Mabuhay) — President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed commitment to strengthen their collaboration on trade and security efforts. 

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bangkok, Thailand. (MNS photo)

The two leaders made this commitment after concluding their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Both President Marcos and PM Ardern said they are keen on collaborating with Filipino farmers on new innovations in farming to increase sustainability and productivity.

The President also said the Philippines and New Zealand’s partnership in trade has grown “at a steady pace.” 

“Our trade, our connection, has been growing at a steady pace. And we want perhaps after things open up even more and come back to what we all considered to be normal, it would increase. The population of the Philippines is growing, and the continuing need to trade,” the President told PM Ardern. 

“I think that once again the best solution is just to have strong partnerships. You can have slightly different positions within that – but you are members of a political aggrupation and economic aggrupation, there’s strength in numbers,” Marcos pointed out.

President Marcos also raised the need to strengthen efforts to achieve peace, which he said, is “past, present and future consideration of our initiatives.” 

“Because it is a multilateral partnership so that’s what I think. Let’s make that very, very strong, and as long as we look after the region, [the] Asia-Pacific, we look after our interest, I really think we could weather the storm and beyond that. We cannot just set aside the effort to make the economy vibrant again,” Marcos said.

The President added: “I think we can do both. But you cannot do anything if there is no peace, and that is just the basics… If that becomes a critical issue in the sense that we are all on high alert for war, everything stops, everything stops. And here we go again.”

The road to peace, according to the chief executive, requires a united effort from the members of the Asia-Pacific region and the world.

“We have to be in this lifeboat together and keep at it together – that’s my view,” Marcos stressed.

In various meetings in Thailand, Marcos discussed food security, global health systems, climate change and other pressing issues concerning the Asia-Pacific region. (MNS)