The Philippines got the backing of New Zealand in its claims over some parts of the South China Sea after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed support for the country’s position.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Saturday Ardern made her pronouncement during her bilateral talk with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the sidelines of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Thailand.

New Zealand’s leader also supported Marcos’ call for the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct, which will supposedly manage tensions among claimants of the contested waters, DFA added.

Ardern’s favorable feedback came after what DFA described as a “convivial exchange of views on regional issues of mutual interest” between the two leaders.

In their talk, Ardern and Marcos also stressed New Zealand’s and the Philippines’ shared commitment to the rule of law and the promotion of regional peace and security—an area that also concerned other world leaders.

Ardern and Marcos also affirmed the excellent bilateral relations in various areas of cooperation, according to DFA.

Marcos particularly acknowledged the development cooperation between the Philippines and New Zealand in agriculture, innovation, and peacebuilding.

For her part, Ardern noted the strong people-to-people links between the two countries, noting the invaluable socio-economic contribution of the Filipino community in New Zealand.

They also acknowledged the great potential for growth in all aspects of two-way ties. Noting a steady pace of growth of bilateral trade, Marcos said he would like to see a more balanced trade in the coming years.