US Secretary of Defense to Visit New Zealand

Minister of Defence Ron Mark will welcome US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to Auckland on 5-6 August.

This will be Secretary Esper’s first visit to New Zealand since being sworn in as the 27th Defense Secretary on 23 July.

“New Zealand shares a longstanding friendship with the United States, founded on a mutual interest in a free, democratic, secure and prosperous world,” says Ron Mark.

“The Strategic Defence Policy Statement reinforces the value that New Zealand places on its relationship with the United States and other partners. 

“Defence and security cooperation is an important pillar in New Zealand’s overall relationship with the United States, where engagement occurs at all levels including shared defence deployments, maritime security, counter terrorism, peace-keeping and humanitarian assistance, and in capability areas relevant to New Zealand.

“Operating and exercising with the US across a range of activities, amplifies New Zealand’s ability to contribute to international security and to protect and promote New Zealand’s interests.

The main business of the visit will include a bilateral Defence Ministers’ Meeting between Defence Minister Mark and US Defence Secretary Esper.

“I look forward to meeting with my US counterpart and discussing, amongst other things, some of the challenges to New Zealand and United States shared interests in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as defence capability,” says Ron Mark.