19 July, 2013
Prime Minister to visit Solomon Islands and South Korea
Prime Minister John Key will travel to the Solomon Islands and South Korea from 24 July to 30 July to mark the tenth anniversary of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and then the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.
Mr Key will lead a delegation of Ministers and Members of Parliament to the Solomon Islands, as well as New Zealand Defence Force and Police representatives who have been involved in RAMSI operations over the last decade.
“The strength of the New Zealand delegation signifies the importance of our RAMSI contribution to the Solomon Islands. New Zealand will continue to support the mission as it transitions from a military and police mission to a police-only mission,” says Mr Key.
RAMSI deployed in 2003 at the invitation of the Solomon Islands Government following a five year destabilising period of civil disorder. RAMSI has markedly reduced violence and aided in increasing delivery of government services to the public.
The Prime Minister will then travel to South Korea to join New Zealand veterans in commemorations marking the 60th anniversary of the armistice which ended the Korean War.
The Minister of Veterans Affairs Michael Woodhouse will accompany the veterans on board an RNZAF 757 aircraft which departs on 23 July.
“This will be an historic opportunity to honour the veterans’ service and sacrifice, and their contribution to building a modern, vibrant Korea.”
Around 6000 New Zealanders fought in the Korean War, 45 lost their lives and 79 were wounded.
During the visit Mr Key will hold talks with the new Korean President Park Geun-hye, who was inaugurated in February, and is the country’s first woman leader.
“We have a warm, multi-faceted relationship with Korea. I’m keen to work with President Park to develop our links further,” says Mr Key.
The Prime Minister will also meet with Korean business contacts and address the Kiwi Chamber of Commerce in Seoul.
Mr Key returns to New Zealand on 30 July.