United States Vice President Joe Biden has flown into Auckland tonight reaffirming the message that his country is a Pacific power and saying he's made that clear to China's leaders.
On a rare and brief 24-hour visit, Mr Biden was welcomed at a reception by Foreign Minister Murray McCully who said he wanted to acknowledge the role the Obama administration has played "in placing the relationship of our two countries on its very strongest footing".
Mr Biden, who's accompanied by an entourage of about 200 people on the visit, said that when President Obama and he took office, they made a basic determination "that the Asia-Pacific region is where much of the history of the 21st Century will be written."
"And this was the animating principal behind our decision to engage in what we refer to as rebalancing our interest in our allocation of resources in the world," he said.
"I've met many times with leaders of China... and I've stated very forthrightly we are a Pacific power, we always have been a Pacific power, we are going nowhere. We mean what we say when we say we are rebalancing to the Pacific," Mr Biden said.
"It is overwhelmingly in our interest that you New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Korea in the North East Pacific and everywhere in between, that the countries prosper.
"We make up 40 per cent of the world's GDP. This is where the action is going to be. The energy and dynamism for this region is undeniable.
"It's sparking with incredible potential. And whether or not we reach that potential, whether or not we continue to prosper and live in peace in our view depends on our ability to maintain free, fair and open and liberal open system on the seas, skies and free and open commerce where all nations act as responsible stakeholders and as responsible competitors," Mr Biden said.
"It is no longer what America can do for New Zealand, it's what we can do with New Zealand that animates the President and I to look at this relationship, and God willing President Clinton will look at this relationship," the Vice President said to laughter.