Peru is the third Latin American country after Brazil and Chile to formalise diplomatic relations with the Cook Islands in the last two years,
Peru is a large resource-rich country bordering the Pacific Ocean with a population of 29 million people.
Over the past decade, it has been one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies, with GDP growth driven by its minerals and fuels sector.
It has also been a strong driver in the development of the Pacific Alliance, a trade liberalising pact between Peru, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.
The Pacific Alliance countries are known as the “Pacific Pumas” for their economic growth and pro-free trade perspective. The Pacific Pumas countries are outward looking and influential in the region, with growing influence individually and as a collective in the multilateral context. As a group, it is home to 221 million people and the sixth largest economy with a combined Gross Domestic Product of $3.85trillion.
“Diplomatic relations with Peru avails yet another platform to advance the Cook Islands development agenda as it relates to tourism, telecommunications, energy, people-to-people and cultural links,” said Foreign Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann.
It is likely the Peruvian government will accredit their ambassador in Australia to the Cook Islands.
“Formalisation of diplomatic relations better enables our diplomats to engage with Peruvian officials through headquarters and overseas representatives on bilateral matters as well as in key multilateral settings in which both countries engage such as the IMO, UNESCO, the WHO and others,” said Herrmann
People to people links however go back many years. During the 1860s more than 725 Cook Islanders, mostly from the Norther Group, were duped to board ships from Peru with bogus contracts to go and work in South America.