Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger Saturday said New Zealand's anti-nuclear legislation is a barrier to military cooperation but not to the relationship between the two countries.
Kissinger made the remark in Seoul Saturday after a meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark who is in South Korea with 30 New Zealand Korean War veterans for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the end of the war this weekend, according to a report by New Zealand Press Association from Seoul.
New Zealand banned nuclear-powered or fueled American warships during the David Lange-led Labor Government in the mid-1980s.
Kissinger, a former secretary of state to two former American presidents and the United States national security adviser from 1969 to 1975, said New Zealand's anti-nuclear legislation (introduced in 1987) was still an obstacle to military cooperation.
"It will make the traditional allied co-operation more difficult but it has not been an obstacle to close cooperation in all the other fields I am familiar with," said Kissinger, who asked to meet Clark to familiarize himself with issues affecting the two countries.
However, Kissinger, 80, emphasized he was making his comments as a private citizen and not as a formal envoy of the American Government.
He was in Seoul as the official United States representative for the 50th commemorations of the armistice on July 27, 1953 which ended the Korean war.
Kissinger and Clark also discussed the deepening nuclear crisis over the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s moves to establish a nuclear weapons capability.
Clark said Friday after a meeting with South Korean President Roh Mu Hyun that the world would not stand for the DPRK's nuclear brinkmanship.
Kissinger, however, said he believed the issue could be resolved and there may soon be another top level meeting between the DPRK and the United States.
He said he did not believe he would have a role in resolving the issue -- "certainly not in the negotiations at this stage".
Clark said she had a fascinating discussion with Kissinger about some of the world's current predicaments.