SEPANG: New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has departed for the Philippines today after concluding a four-day working visit to Malaysia.

The republic will be Peters’ third stop of a four Southeast Asian nations tour after Vietnam and Malaysia, a trip that demonstrates New Zealand’s policy of prioritising cooperation with the dynamically developing region.

The Malaysia Airlines MH 704 flight carrying Peters and his delegation departed from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 1 here, at 10.07 am.

Also present during the sending off ceremony was Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam (CLMV) and Oceania Division Undersecretary Ismail Mohamad Bkri.

During his visit, Peters paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Friday (June 7) where both leaders expressed the commitment of Malaysia and New Zealand to strengthen and further expand bilateral cooperation, especially in the energy transition, trade and investment, education and defence sectors.

Peters also visited the iconic Masjid Negara yesterday in Kuala Lumpur and spent around 20 minutes exploring the mosque, learning about its history, design, and various programmes of the National Mosque.

Malaysia and New Zealand established diplomatic relations on Sept 25, 1957, and the ties have remained strong and stable.

Malaysia consistently welcomes an increasing number of tourists from New Zealand each year, with 18,238 New Zealanders visiting Malaysia in 2022. Additionally, over 17,000 Malaysians are residing in New Zealand.

In the Pacific region, Malaysia is New Zealand’s second-largest trading partner, with the total trade volume between the two countries reaching RM6.32 billion (US$1.42 billion) as of June 2023.