US lifts 26-year ban on NZ naval ships
Fri, 21 Sep 2012 3:25p.m.
New Zealand navy ships will be allowed to visit United States defence ports for the first time in 26 years, in a strong show of thawing defence relations between the two countries.
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited Auckland on Friday, and announced two revisions to United States defence policy toward New Zealand, including reversing restrictions in place since New Zealand's suspension from the ANZUS Treaty in the mid-1980s.
At a joint press conference with Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman, Mr Panetta announced the US secretary of defence will be able to authorise individual visits by New Zealand navy vessels to Department of Defense and Coastguard facilities in the United States and around the world.
"I suspect that soon we'll be able to see one of those ships in our ports," he said.
He also announced the lifting of restrictions on talks between defence officials and joint military exercises, "in order to make it easier so that our militaries can engage in discussions on security issues and cooperative engagements that build on our capacity to tackle these common challenges", Mr Panetta told media.
"While we acknowledge that our countries continue to have differences of opinion in some limited areas, today we have affirmed that we are embarking on a new course in our relationship and will not let these differences stand in the way of greater engagement on security issues."
In talks earlier on Friday, Dr Coleman and Mr Panetta identified areas for closer defence cooperation, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr Panetta also praised the work of New Zealand's troops in Afghanistan
"I have tremendous respect for the New Zealand Defence Force and their capability to be able to work with us to achieve the mission that we are embarked on."
Ties between the two countries had been frosty since 1986, when New Zealand's nuclear-free status and a ban on visits by US nuclear warships saw it suspended from ANZUS.
Relations began thawing in 2010 a visit to New Zealand by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2010, which culminated in the signing of the Wellington Declaration on further cooperation.
Dr Coleman and Mr Panetta also signed the Washington Declaration on greater military cooperation in Washington in June this year.
Mr Panetta's visit was the first by a US defense secretary in 30 years.
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17/03/2013 4:39:32 p.m.
WTF us just needs new Zealand help just cause we are better then US at everything our ships abd etc.....
17/03/2013 4:35:20 p.m.
WTF the us just needs the help of new zealand navy just cause we are better then them !!
6/12/2012 4:28:54 p.m.
is nz going to lift the ban on american war ships its 2012 time to catch up with the rest of the world stop been so conservitied
23/09/2012 5:12:58 p.m.
Leave this one peaceful nation on Earth alone, US! They have clean hands, they don't need to fight your future wars.
23/09/2012 1:10:59 a.m.
I dont want to see NZ become the gelded bitch of the US. The likes of Korea and Japan...
22/09/2012 5:33:02 p.m.
Steve Rogers wrote:
And how is this good for New Zealand? After what NATO did in Libya NZ should be distancing from the US.
22/09/2012 5:17:20 p.m.
Kiwis are mass sleepwalking into this. Key has been secretly negotiating NZ's sovereignty away behind the scenes. It's not about being anti-American, it's about charting an independent foreign policy as NZ has done since 1986. Google the "Five-Eyes" and do your research and it will open your eyes. The public is being softened up for the next stage which will come in due course. Our national self-interest is in being non-aligned. We should be military allies of neither the USA nor China. We should be neutral and non-aligned as the Switzerland of the South Pacific.
22/09/2012 8:18:50 a.m.
Ross Elliot wrote:
We will have trouble reciprocating. The US has a perfectly rational policy of not saying which ships have nuclear material on board,so either we would have to give dispensation from our laws, or they would need to, tacitly at least, breach that policy. Also we do not have the capability to prevent a USS Cole type attack while being an ideal site for one, and would have to allow them to provide their own perimeter security. This represents a real, if only temporary, concession of sovereignty over part of our waters which would not sit well in some quarters.
22/09/2012 7:22:37 a.m.
Yes, they have to, they're loosing the Pacific to China. They should be worried, Google Opium Wars. John Key is kissing their bum bum and send our soldiers to clean up the US mess in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US need us not the other way around.
22/09/2012 3:15:06 a.m.
Barack Obama is as bad, if not worse, than Bush. Don't be fooled by him. He is a terrorist and the number one threat to people, no matter who, anywhere and everywhere in the world.
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