US Secretary of State Tillerson to visit NZ

His visit is part of a trip to Australia.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will meet Prime Minister Bill English and Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee on June 6 in Wellington.

A statement from the US Department of State says the meeting’s purpose is to “reaffirm our strong ties and discuss coordination on shared strategic interests” with New Zealand.

Mr Brownlee says the two countries have a “long-standing friendship and share a deep interest in maintaining peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.”

“We have worked closely together to counter terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US is our third-largest individual trading partner.

“We welcome Secretary Tillerson’s visit as a chance to strengthen the close relationship between New Zealand and the US, to discuss some of the world’s most pressing issues, and to further promote our economic ties,” he says.

Mr Tillerson is travelling first to Sydney, along with US Defense Secretary James Mattis, to attend the 2017 Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations hosted by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne.

In Australia, the US officials will discuss the full range of US-Australia cooperation on bilateral, regional and global issues “coordinating our policies and identifying ways to further strengthen the alliance and deepen cooperation between our two governments.”

The visit will take place as a third US aircraft carrier strike group enters the waters of the Western Pacific in response to an increased North Korean threat.

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