NZ Welcomes New Japan/US Defence Guidelines

  • Don McKinnon
Foreign Affairs and Trade

Foreign Minister Don McKinnon yesterday voiced New Zealand's support for the modified Japan/United States Guidelines for Defence Cooperation, which will contribute to greater stability within the Asia Pacific region.

The new Guidelines represent an updating of the US/Japan Alliance to take in to account the end of the Cold War. They provide for an expanded support role for the Japanese Self Defence Forces in areas such as refuelling and mine sweeping.

Speaking today from Tokyo, where he has been attending the Japan South Pacific Forum Leaders' Summit, Mr McKinnon said he met with the Japan Foreign Minister Obuchi yesterday.

"In my discussions with Mr Obuchi I made it clear that like many regional countries New Zealand recognises and values the role the Japan/US Security Alliance plays in helping to maintain peace and stability in the region. Stability is essential as it provides the basis for economic growth," Mr McKinnon said.

Mr McKinnon said the Guidelines are a logical part of the process Japan and the US have worked through to update the bilateral security relationship into the post Cold-War era. They would ensure the continued relevance of the Alliance without compromising the shared objectives of New Zealand and other countries to work constructively together in the Asia Pacific region.

"We welcome the transparent manner in which the review has been conducted and the Japan/US statement that the Guidelines are not targeted at any specific country. We hoe that all countries will benefit from the stable environment that the Japan/US Security relationship helps to foster in the region."

Mr McKinnon leaves Tokyo this evening for bilateral meetings in Laos. He returns to New Zealand on Sunday (19 October).