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Will we see American soldiers disembarking on our shores?

Nov 6th, 2012 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Latest News, News

UNITED STATES President Barack Obama and the contender for his office Mitt Romney are both interested in military influence in the Pacific.

Both presidential candidates have been reported as identifying  the importance of military ties with Pacific countries.

“United States should maintain and expand naval presence in the western Pacific,” Romney says on his website.

“We should be assisting partners that require help to enhance their defensive capabilities.”

During Obama’s presidency, ties between US military forces and New Zealand troops have grown stronger, and there have been unprecedented visits by America’s top brass defence officials.

The US has lifted its ban on New Zealand warships entering American ports, and the ban on the countries’ troops training together.

US Secretary of Defence, Leon Panetta, visited New Zealand earlier this year, the first visit by an American secretary of defence for 30 years.

Panetta had earlier told CNN; “reductions in US defence spending will not come at the expense of the Asia Pacific”.

Other milestones in the military partnership include New Zealand joining a multi-national amphibious assault exercise held on America’s east coast in February.

On her 2010 visit to New Zealand, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encouraged joint military training’s.

Stuff reported her saying: “If possible, we want to do more … more joint training and exchanges among our officers – opportunities where we can do joint exercises together.”

Clinton was also an active part in this year’s Pacific Islands Forum, the annual meeting of Pacific head of government, which this year was held was held in the Cook Islands.

And in June this year New Zealand troops trained with American marine combat engineers in the US.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key was also reported on Stuff as saying it’s important for New Zealand to extend training exercises with US forces.

Romney’s mentions of the Pacific and how he would accomplish a military presence have lacked detail.

Should Obama win the election, it looks like New Zealand can expect further visits from top-level defence officials and troops exercising together.

Obama has previously praised New Zealand for its stand against nuclear arms and the US Nuclear Posture Review has said “the US would not deploy or threaten use of nuclear weapons against a country the possesses no nuclear weapons of its own”.


CREDITS: 650 top : Otago Daily Times

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