Top US officials meet Australian, New Zealand defense chiefs for talks

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark Esper arrives in Auckland Monday to meet his New Zealand counterpart Defense Minister Ron Mark, after attending the Australia-US Ministerial meetings in Sydney over the weekend with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The two defense chiefs highlight the long-standing commitment between the U.S. and New Zealand.

Esper says his visit demonstrates the United States’ priority for the countries in the Pacific region.

[Mark Esper, US Defense Secretary]:

"Minister, I've come to personally demonstrate the priority that we place on our friends here, and especially New Zealand. Since the Washington Declaration in 2012, our militaries have made significant strides in defense cooperation and we greatly value New Zealand's contributions to a free and open Pacific.”

Esper tells his host that the U.S. and New Zealand share a mutual vision for the region “based on values of sovereignty, peaceful conflict resolution, international rule of law and freedom of navigation, and so we are committed to this future in our words and in our actions."

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