New Zealand is considering joining the new AUKUS (Australia, UK & USA) defence pact to collaborate on the development of emerging cybersecurity technologies and intelligence.
The country’s top diplomat in Canberra said New Zealand could join the agreement with Australia, the UK and the USA while maintaining its ban on nuclear-powered submarines – a controversial issue which has remained a non-negotiable sticking point for the New Zealand government.
While New Zealand would never be involved in the development of nuclear-powered submarines, New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Australia, Dame Annette King, said it welcomed the US and Britain’s increased engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.
“We have reiterated our collective objective to deliver peace and stability in our region and the preservation of an international rules-based system,” she told Australian newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Britain’s departing Chief of Defence Staff, Nicholas Carter, last week suggested the trilateral security pact could be expanded to include the remaining CANZUK countries of New Zealand and Canada.
When Dame King was asked whether New Zealand would like to join AUKUS, she said, “It’s been made clear to us that other countries are going to be welcome to be involved…cyber is one area that we’d certainly be interested in, but there’s no detail yet – so we will be looking for detail.”
The news comes shortly after New Zealand agreed an in-principle trade agreement with the United Kingdom which will slash tariffs on goods from both countries and pave the way for freer movement of citizens.
CANZUK International welcomes the news of New Zealand’s interest in AUKUS and will continue to lobby for New Zealand and Canada’s involvement with this new security pact in the coming months.
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