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Burns On U.S.-New Zealand Relations

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns. (File)

There is no more dynamic and consequential part of the world today for America’s interests than the Asia-Pacific.

“Some may ask why the United States is so invested in strengthening its relationship with New Zealand during a time of global economic crisis, a Middle East in tumult, looming nuclear dangers, accelerating climate change, and international terrorism,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said recently at the opening of the 2013 U.S.-New Zealand Pacific Partnership Forum in Washington, DC.

Burns On U.S.-New Zealand Relations
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“The simple answer is that there is no more dynamic and consequential part of the world today -- and in the decades ahead -- for America’s interests, and for the shape of the global system, than the Asia-Pacific.”

The United States, as a Pacific nation in the midst of a Pacific century, will continue to build an active and enduring presence in Asia.

“We are pursuing our engagement along three tracks – broadening and deepening our bilateral cooperation with treaty allies, enhancing partnerships with new and emerging players, and playing a more active role in the development of regional multilateral institutions,” Deputy Secretary Burns said.

“Our relationship with New Zealand and the work we do together is a critical element of our rebalance to the region,” Deputy Secretary Burns continued. “From Timor Leste to the Sinai and the Solomon Islands, New Zealand plays a significant role in peacekeeping operations . . . Strengthening ASEAN, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the East Asia Summit, APEC, and the Pacific Islands Forum is crucial to ensuring that the Asia-Pacific has cooperative mechanisms in place to address the challenges facing the region – from maritime security to nonproliferation and humanitarian assistance and disaster response . . . We work together on joint endeavors to protect the environment and promote clean and sustainable energy . . . We [also] work together to boost the region’s economic dynamism and support growth-oriented, job-creating trade and investment policies.”

“We both have a great deal to gain though expanded partnership – and our partnership benefits the entire Asia-Pacific region,” Deputy Secretary Burns said. “Our shared values and interests, our common vision for a prosperous, stable, and secure Asia-Pacific, and the growing partnership we have built between our governments and our peoples, will help us make the most of the opportunities in the Pacific Century unfolding before us.”