Henry Puna said Australia was a significant regional and global player and he hopes to capitalise on their offerings when the country opens a diplomatic mission here in the coming year.
And Puna hopes the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Statement of Strategic Intentions 2019-2024, which he launched last week, will help strengthen this bilateral tie.
He said security threats is one of areas they would seek assistance from Australia.
The Foreign Affairs ministry would continue to co-ordinate government’s engagement with their Australian counterpart on expansion of economic and security co-operation and people-to-people links.
“Growing trans-border security threats, such as transnational crime, irregular migration, cyber-crime, terrorism, foreign espionage and interference directly affect the Cook Island’s security,” Puna said.
The recent act of terrorism on Christchurch is a brutal jolt of our collective vulnerabilities, he said.
Puna said the range of traditional and contemporary security threats, as well as the Cook Islands inherent vulnerabilities and capability constraints requires the country to broaden and deepen bilateral, regional and multilateral security cooperation.
“And it requires us to step up our efforts to advance collective security and defend the rules-based international order through proactive engagement in the Pacific security framework, including the 2018 Boe Declaration and multilateral engagements in global peace, security and disarmament initiatives.”
Puna also expects the new strategy to further expand co-operation with the New Zealand government.
He said the flexibilities inherent in the free association with New Zealand has allowed the Cook Islands to pursue separate and shared policies and interests at both the bilateral and international levels.