Key Points:

Foreign Minister Winston Peters today briefed US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on his visit to North Korea.

Mr Peters left North Korea at the weekend after meeting senior politicians there during what was a rare trip for any foreign minister.

In Washington today he met Ms Rice, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.

"Secretary Rice welcomed the message I conveyed to North Korea, that New Zealand was willing to assist with economic development if it follows through on its denuclearisation commitments under the Six Party Talks," Mr Peters said in a statement.

"The United States is pleased with the progress being made in disabling some nuclear facilities in North Korea, and looks forward to moving into the dismantlement phase next year."

While he was in North Korea Mr Peters met number two leader Kim Yong-Nam and the country's foreign, trade and agriculture ministers.

It was the first visit by a New Zealand foreign minister, although New Zealand established diplomatic ties with North Korea in 2001.

He said today he also discussed non-proliferation issues with Ms Rice in Washington, as well as developments in the South Pacific and the progress that has been made in strengthening relations between New Zealand and the US.

"I took the opportunity to discuss New Zealand's recent decisions on military and police deployments to Afghanistan, and was told that the US greatly appreciates the contributions we are making there," he said.

"My meeting with Secretary Chertoff focused on ways to strengthen New Zealand's relations with the Department of Homeland Security.

"There is a lot of potential to build on existing links, and strengthen co-operation in areas such as border security and the exchange of technology."

Mr Peters said it was clear from the meetings that the relationship between New Zealand and the US had "reached a new level as a result of recent efforts by both governments".