Saturday, July 20, 2024

US/NZ partner for peace and post-COVID prosperity

Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and US President, Joe Biden, met today in Washington DC where their discussions ranged from regional and global security, to trade and climate change.

“New Zealand’s relationship with the United States is one of our most enduring and significant. Today we re-affirmed this very very close relationship and our commitment to work together on a number of challenges our region and the world are facing,” Prime Minister Ardern said. 

“The meeting with President Biden came at a critical moment. We recommitted to working together, and alongside others, in the pursuit of peace and stability, and in defence of the international rules-based order.

“Personally it was a great pleasure to meet the President face to face despite the challenges Covid has presented on this trip. The determination from both sides to meet despite Covid’s curveballs reflects the strength of our relationship.”

The Prime Minister said that supporting Pacific resilience was high on the agenda, including the need to work with Pacific countries on climate change, COVID-19 economic recovery, and promoting peace and stability in the region.

“We welcome increased engagement by the United States in the Pacific, and together we will continue to respond to the Pacific’s own priorities,” she said.

“We also discussed the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). New Zealand is happy to join IPEF, but we do want it to be meaningful. We believe it can assist with the removal of non-tariff barriers and seed greater economic cooperation and integration.

Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern speaks to members of the media after meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House.

“A key focus of the trip has been to reconnect New Zealand with the United States and to progress greater economic partnership for our businesses and exporters.

“While we recognises the domestic complexities in the US in terms of free trade agreements, I urged the President to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP).

“The CPTPP is the best way the United States can support the economic resilience of our region, so on that basis I encouraged the President to look at the CPTTP as more than a trade agreement.”

The leaders condemned Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, discussed the support that both countries have provided in response, and considered what further measures could be taken to bolster the diplomatic efforts.

“At a time when a UN Security Council member is violating the basic principles of international security, and the UN Charter, it is essential that New Zealand works with partners including the US to stand up to Russia’s aggression,” Ms Ardern said.

“New Zealand has made a significant contribution to the war effort. We will continue to support Ukraine in ways that best reflect our expertise.”

The Prime Minister also expressed her personal condolences to President Biden and to the American people for the tragedies in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York.

“While in New Zealand we know we have more work to do on the issue of gun crime, we can share what we have learned through the changes we made to ensure the weapons most often used for mass killings, military style semi-automatic weapons, were quickly taken out of circulation,” she said.

The leaders pledged to continue their work alongside other governments, civil society, and the technology sector through the Christchurch Call to counter terrorist and violent extremist content online.

“The US is a critically important partner in this work and we look forward to demonstrating progress at the upcoming Christchurch Call Leaders’ Summit in September,” said Ms Ardern.

The leaders agreed to look for training and placement opportunities in both Aotearoa New Zealand and the US to support young practitioners in science and technology as part of our deepening digital technology partnership.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the President and Prime Minister released a United States – Aotearoa New Zealand Joint Statement: A 21st century partnership for the Pacific, Indo-Pacific and the world. The Statement re-affirms and commits to advance the strategic partnership between the United States and Aotearoa New Zealand.

“With mounting challenges around the world; inflation and our Covid recovery, Ukraine, security in our region and climate change, this meeting has affirmed New Zealand and the US are of a like mind and there is significant scope for ongoing cooperation and collaboration that will benefit both countries and the world,” Ms Ardern said. 

In a separate meeting with Vice President Harris, the Prime Minister and the Vice President welcomed the finalisation of negotiations of a Space Framework Agreement between the US and New Zealand.

“One of the most innovative developments in Aotearoa New Zealand has been the emergence of a world-leading space sector. In recent years, we have had the fourth highest number of launches, while New Zealand space companies and research institutes have made significant technology advances.”

“We have the opportunity to further grow our cooperation with the US government as well as building other partnerships, such as with the Environmental Defence Fund in the MethaneSAT satellite mission for measuring methane emissions from space. 

“We already have an exciting science, technology and education partnership with NASA. The Framework Agreement will pave the way to take this partnership to a new level,” said PM Ardern.

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