NZ seeks closer ties with Japan

New Zealand and Japan have vowed to increase cooperation on earthquake engineering and disaster recovery following the devastating quakes which struck both nations.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida made the pledge in a joint statement following strategic cooperative partnership talks in Auckland today.

Thousands were killed in the earthquake and tsunami which hit Japan's east coast in March 2011, less than a month after the deadly February 22 earthquake in Canterbury.

The ministers said both nations would seek further opportunities to work together to enhance disaster recovery and resilience.

They also committed to further collaboration on earthquake engineering and geothermal energy, and to explore new areas for collaboration including tsunami prevention and early warning systems in the Pacific region.

The ministers also said they were committed to strengthening maritime law in the region.

Both nations have had to deal with protest actions at sea, including protests around oil exploration vessels off the coast of New Zealand and anti-whaling protests around Japanese vessels in the Southern Ocean.

The ministers said it was important to resolve disputes and issues peacefully, without force or provocation, in a way that was consistent with international law.

More generally, the statement said both nations were committed to bringing "new vigour and vision to the relationship".

The ministers stressed the importance of regional cooperation and trade talks, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations which both nations are party to.

They also expressed their shared concern over North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile development plans.

They urged the communist state to abandon all nuclear weapons activities and to address humanitarian and human rights concerns, including abductions.


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