The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and New Zealand on the occasion of the 2020 U.S.-NZ Virtual Strategic Dialogue.
United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Mr. David R. Stilwell and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Secretary Mr. Chris Seed met via video teleconference on 22 and 23 July (Wellington) / July 21 and 22 (Washington) to co-chair the eighth United States – New Zealand Strategic Dialogue, the first since 2016 and the first iteration held virtually.
The Dialogue, reflecting the strong relationship and shared values between the two long-time partners, provided an opportunity to review the breadth of cooperation across the bilateral relationship, and exchange views on matters of mutual concern across the Indo-Pacific.
Issues discussed by the United States and New Zealand included: the strategic and economic architecture of the Indo-Pacific; the global impacts of COVID-19; the U.S.-NZ strategic partnership, including security cooperation and the economic relationship; cooperation in regional and multilateral fora, and in Antarctica.
Of note, both sides affirmed the importance of ASEAN, the East Asia Summit, and other ASEAN-led regional organizations, along with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, to promote peace, security, and economic development in the Indo-Pacific. Both sides re-affirmed their commitments to support these organizations and the people they represent during this unprecedented period. Participants discussed issues including the South China Sea, Hong Kong, human rights concerns in Xinjiang, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and DPRK. Participants noted the particular challenges facing Pacific Island countries due to COVID-19, and plan to continue collaborating to support these island nations. Participants noted their ongoing efforts to promote strong, independent governance, and respect for human rights and the rule of law in the Pacific. They noted their expectation that other partners operating in the Pacific would also respect these principles.
The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the bilateral relationship through regular contact between our countries at all levels, and to continue their cooperation to address global issues of mutual concern, particularly following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, through shared values and new partnerships.