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US secretary of defence to visit New Zealand next week

United States secretary of defence Mark Esper will be visiting New Zealand next week, Minister of Defence Ron Mark revealed today.

Mark Esper, 27th United States Secretary of Defence. Source: Public Domain

Mr Esper was sworn in as the 27th US secretary of defence on July 23, and Mr Mark said in a release that a bilateral meeting will take place next week between August 5-6.

"New Zealand shares a longstanding friendship with the United States, founded on a mutual interest in a free, democratic, secure and prosperous world," Mr Mark said.

"The Strategic Defence Policy Statement reinforces the value that New Zealand places on its relationship with the United States and other partners.

"Defence and security cooperation is an important pillar in New Zealand's overall relationship with the United States, where engagement occurs at all levels including shared defence deployments, maritime security, counter terrorism, peace-keeping and humanitarian assistance, and in capability areas relevant to New Zealand.

"Operating and exercising with the US across a range of activities, amplifies New Zealand's ability to contribute to international security and to protect and promote New Zealand's interests."