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Burns On U.S.-New Zealand Relations

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