The United States and New Zealand will resume bilateral
military cooperation after a near-total 30-year interruption,
the two countries' defence ministries said.
The improvement in military relations comes as part of the US
strategy to pay more attention to the Asia-Pacific region, amid
China's growing clout.
"We're also very pleased to see the resumption of mil to
mil talks after 30 years," cheered New Zealand Defence
minister Jonathan Coleman during a press conference at the
Pentagon with his US counterpart Chuck Hagel.
Mr Coleman presented Mr Hagel with an All Blacks shirt with
the Defence Secretary's name on it and the number one.
The two countries plan to develop cooperation in peacekeeping
and military training, humanitarian aid and emergency response,
the two ministries explained.
"In addition to high-level visits like this one, we've
had a productive set of exercises and training initiatives, the
first joint defence policy talks in almost three decades,"
Wellington is set to send a ship to participate in the
international anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden, as well
as to participate in next year's RIMPAC near Hawaii - the
world's biggest multi-national naval exercise.
"Today I authorised a New Zealand navy ship to dock at
Pearl Harbor for RIMPAC 2014," Hagel said.
This would be one of the first visits of a New Zealand ship
in a US military port since the United States lifted a ban in
September 2012 that had been in place since 1986.
Washington had ordered the embargo as a reprisal for a New
Zealand ban on nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered submarines from
entering the Pacific island nation's waters.