WELLINGTON, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand has been admitted as a member of the Asian sub-group of the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP), the government announced Friday.
John Hayes, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who represented New Zealand at the meeting this week in Vientiane, Laos, thanked Laos and Cambodia for supporting New Zealand's bid for membership.
"Before New Zealand joined in 2010, it was the only East Asia Summit country outside of ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting)," Hayes said in a statement.
"We have been conscious of the steps we needed to take if our country was to be more effective in its dealings with Europe and the nations of Asia," Hayes said.
"Successive New Zealand governments have actively forged closer links between the peoples of New Zealand, Europe and Asia as a vital investment in the future."
New Zealand's inclusion into the Asian group within ASEP was " our logical home" and consistent with New Zealand's increasing focus on the Asia-Pacific region.
ASEP is one of a series of ASEM events being hosted by Laos this year, which will culminate with the ninth ASEM Leaders Summit in November.