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New Zealand, U.S. agree on further cooperation in Asia-Pacific


17:40, May 23, 2013

WELLINGTON, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Government and defense officials from New Zealand and the United States on Thursday reiterated their commitment to continue strengthening their "strategic partnership" on a range of issues in the Asia-Pacific region.

A joint statement issued from the U.S.-New Zealand Strategic Dialogue in Washington said the issues discussed included the U.S. "rebalance" to the Asia-Pacific region and areas of concern, such as the Korean Peninsula, and issues of the strategic partnership, such as Afghanistan, peacekeeping operations and cyber policy.

They also discussed cooperation in the region's strategic and economic structures, including ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations), the East Asia Summit, APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), the ASEAN Regional Forum, the Pacific Islands Forum, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact which is still under negotiation.

Other areas of cooperation covered maritime security, development, economic sustainability, democracy and rule of law, as well as the environment, including a joint proposal to create the world's largest marine protected area in Antarctica's Ross Sea.

The delegates said they were committed to regular bilateral contact at all levels.

The strategic dialogue was attended by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns and Deputy Secretary of Defense Bede Corry, as well as senior officials from New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand Defence Force and the New Zealand Treasury.

The next strategic dialogue would be held in the second half of 2013.

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