Admiral talks plans for history-making NZ ship visit with Gerry Brownlee

US Admiral Harry Harris and New Zealand Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee have expressed commitment to a strong partnership between the two countries. Photo / Supplied
US Admiral Harry Harris and New Zealand Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee have expressed commitment to a strong partnership between the two countries. Photo / Supplied

America's top regional naval commander has discussed history-making plans for a US ship visit in a high-level meeting with Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee.

Admiral Harry Harris, the head of the United States Pacific Command, hosted Brownlee at his headquarters in Hawaii today.

Their meeting comes after Prime Minister John Key and US Vice-President Joe Biden this week announced a US ship would visit New Zealand in November as part of the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

In a statement, the US Pacific Command said Admiral Harris and Brownlee welcomed the ship visit.

"The New Zealand invitation for a US port visit demonstrates the progress of the mutually beneficial, bilateral relationship between the two countries."

Brownlee was welcomed to Admiral Harris' headquarters meeting with an honours ceremony before the two sat down and spoke on a wide range of security challenges.

They discussed the Bilateral Defence Dialogue - a meeting signifying the strategic partnership between both countries, which will be hosted by the Pacific Command in September.

HMNZS Te Kaha is scheduled to take part in the 26-nation Rimpac exercises.  Photo / File
HMNZS Te Kaha is scheduled to take part in the 26-nation Rimpac exercises. Photo / File

Admiral Harris also praised New Zealand's efforts in Iraq.

Both leaders expressed their commitment to a strong partnership and said they look forward to working together in the future to "promote stability, prosperity and peace in the Indo-Asia-Pacific."

Today's meeting coincides with the visit of the New Zealand frigate HMNZS Te Kaha, which is taking part in Rim of the Pacific, the largest maritime exercise in the world.

Admiral Harris thanked Brownlee for New Zealand's contribution to the 26-nation exercise and emphasised the importance of multinational maritime security co-operation.

- NZ Herald

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