Friday 16 December 2011
In a simple yet meaningful ceremony held at the Embassy of the Philippines in Wellington on Monday, 12 December 2011, the Cook Islands and the Philippines formally established diplomatic relations through the signing of a Joint Communiqué by the Cook Islands High Commissioner H.E. Tekaotiki Matapo and Philippines Ambassador H.E. Virginia H. Benavidez for their respective governments.
The Cook Islands and the Philippines have always maintained friendly relations and have supported each other in many common issues affecting the two countries such as maritime safety and climate change. The establishment of diplomatic ties further cements this friendship and the two countries look forward to deepening the cooperation existing between them. The formal establishment of relations becomes even more relevant and timely as the Cook Islands will be hosting next year’s Pacific Islands Forum and the Philippines is a dialogue partner. This highlights the increasing interaction and connectivity of countries in the global arena. The Cook Islands hosts a number of Filipino citizens in the professional and service sectors. “The Cook Islands looks forward to increased cooperation and collaboration with the Philippines in a range of areas, both bilaterally and multilaterally,” said High Commissioner Matapo. “Likewise, the Philippines will continue to build on the strong foundation of friendship and partnership with the Cook Islands in the political, economic, socio-cultural and people-to-people ties and to work hand-in-hand to fulfil our collective goal of peace, progress and prosperity in our part of the world,” Ambassador Benavidez stated.The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Heads of Missions of the ASEAN and Pacific Island countries and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand.The Ministry would like to acknowledge Mr Alan Raga of “My Photograph” for providing the photos.