Today the US Senate Foreign Affairs committee voted to approve a new Ambassador to NZ. Former Senator Carol Moseley-Braun now awaits only a final vote in the senate to confirm her appointment.
Meanwhile the warmth of the relationship between NZ and the US has been outlined in a speech in Maryland by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Ralph L. Boyce.
In the speech (attached below), Boyce talks at length about the closeness in the relationship between the US and NZ.
Boyce describes NZ US relations as being at a high-point post 1985. He talks extensively about East Timor and the Presidential visit.
On the anti-nuclear legislation he makes the following comments:
"On security issues, we have come a long way since the mid-1980's when our relationship was quite strained. Although the so-called "unfinished business" remains, senior-level officials regularly consult with each other these days. Secretary Albright visited New Zealand last year. Prime Minister Shipley met the President and several U.S. cabinet members when she visited Washington earlier this year. Defense Minister Bradford has met twice with Defense Secretary Cohen in recent months, including a meeting in Darwin, Australia with Australian Defense Minister John Moore to discuss the crisis in East Timor.
Certainly there are limits to what we can do as long as New Zealand's nuclear legislation remains in force. But the limits on our relationship should not obscure either the things we can do together or make us forget what we have done together in the past. Our remarkable partnership has extended to every major war this century -- an incredible fact, especially given that it has been a very long century when it comes to war. We have fought side by side in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. "
On its face it would appear that the ANZUS thaw is now complete and the carcass is ready for basting if not roasting.
The first part of the speech concerns the US relationship with Australia.
Scoop has marked the beginning of the section on NZ with a heading in large type.
STATE DEPARTMENT SUMMARY:
America's relations with Australia and New Zealand are "excellent," according to Ralph L. Boyce, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
During a speech delivered November 8 at the Fulbright International Center Seminar held at the University of Maryland, Boyce emphasized the numerous areas of cooperation among the three nations and downplayed trade disputes.
The U.S.-New Zealand security dialogue is strong, despite New Zealand's anti-nuclear legislation, Boyce said. In the trade area, the United States recently displaced Japan as New Zealand's second largest commercial partner, he added.
U.S.-Australia cooperation during the crisis in East Timor, Boyce said, is "a model of the way the Australian-U.S. alliance should work and can work into the new century."
The American-Australian operation in East Timor, he said, "has clearly shown that the U.S. and Australian militaries have exercised together so extensively and for so long that when real life contingencies occur, our forces pull together as if by reflex."
U.S.-Australian trade, Boyce said, "is healthy and the volume is growing." "The U.S. is now the second destination (and closing in on Japan) for Australian goods and services. In fact, Australian exports to the U.S. have grown three times as fast as its overall economy. Equally, we are the single largest source of exports into Australia, and the same pattern is true for investment," he said.
Following is the text of Boyce's remarks, as prepared for delivery:
"AMERICA'S RELATIONS WITH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BEYOND THE TURN OF THE CENTURY"
Remarks by Ralph L. Boyce Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Fulbright International Center Seminar University of Maryland College Park, Maryland
November 8, 1999
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss U.S. relations with Australia and New Zealand beyond the turn of the century. As you would expect, I am frequently asked to answer questions about the state of our relations with both countries. I have a one-word answer that applies to the current situation and our future prospects: excellent.
I suspect a one-word is not sufficient for this distinguished audience today so I will elaborate. I will do so, not just because you treated me to an excellent lunch today (and a one word reply would not be sufficient thanks), but also because one word, no matter how complementary, fails to convey the deep and enduring ties that we have and hope to continue to have with both countries.
The United States has many things in common with both Australia and New Zealand. I suspect there will always be much that unites us. Our three countries share common cultural origins, common systems of belief, and a common language. The friendship between our peoples is deep and wide. I really do not see that changing. In many ways, our future relationship will be more of the same, based on the firm foundation of ties that have been built up over the 20th century.
Let me turn first to the U.S.-relationship with Australia. As Secretary Albright said after the just-concluded AUSMIN meeting here in Washington, "There may be no country on the planet with whom we have a better working relationship than Australia."
As you know, we are close allies through the ANZUS Treaty, but I think it is clear to most Australians and Americans that our relationship is much more than the pieces of paper that our two governments generate. In so many ways, and in so many areas, we are extremely close. That is especially true of our security relationship, one of the bedrocks of U.S.-Australian relations over the years.
Since the end of World War II, defense and intelligence linkages have topped our bilateral agenda with Australia. Some studies of the Australian-American relationship have focused on the overriding importance of our defense arrangements, sometimes over looking the other forms of cooperation. This is not surprising. Our security ties are very strong and are certain to endure into the new century. What will change is not the intensity of our collaboration in this area, but rather the number and the nature of the security challenges we face, and how we go about meeting them together.
Events in the past year are evidence of this. Although the Cold War is over, world peace is not at hand. As we approach the year 2000, it is clear that we are still not living in a benign international environment. Threats to our security and our national interests, and threats to the international system as a whole persist. This is an area where the U.S.-Australian military alliance is being called on to meet new challenges, and to develop new ways of working together. Around the world we see that economies are struggling, institutions are weak, governments are unstable. It is often not the problems between states, but within states that demand our attention and create security challenges for the alliance and for the international community.
Why do these problems matter to our two countries? Aren't they largely the internal matters of individual nations? These problems matter because when governments have difficulty addressing their own individual problems, humanitarian catastrophes can result, raising concerns and tension throughout the region and making it more difficult for countries to carry on business as usual.
Regrettably during the past year, internal problems of countries have become reality in Southeast Asia, affecting not just Australian and U.S. interests, but the interests of the entire region. I am, of course, referring to the problems in Indonesia and the crisis in East Timor. Many experts had thought that one of the challenges of the 21st century would include developing ways for working effectively with a strong Indonesia. That may still be the case, but right now the challenge is to help a weakened Indonesia under going a major political and economic transition. That has been the focus of attention.
East Timor is a case study, not only of what might happen in the years ahead but of how the U.S.-Australia alliance remains relevant and strong. There can be no doubt that, had Australia not come forward to organize and lead a multinational force, no other nation in the region would have. No other nation in the region had both the will and the capability to stabilize the situation in East Timor. Here was a humanitarian tragedy, unfolding only a few hundred kilometers away from the Australian coast. Timorese were being killed or driven from their homes because they had voted overwhelmingly for independence, and had done so under U.N. auspices, believing they would be protected by the international community. Australia took this as an obligation to act, and urged others to act as well.
Those of us who are officially and professionally engaged on these issues on a daily basis were surprised to hear some voices (in Australia and to a lesser extent in the U.S.) complain that America was somehow late or lacking in support of an old ally. In fact, we have been engaged on these issues for some time. We have had close consultations with Australia on Indonesia since well before the recent financial crisis. Throughout the crisis the U.S. has provided strong and decisive political support through numerous interventions by the President, the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, CINCPAC, and others. We are involved militarily in significant roles that only the U.S. can perform, not all of them as visible as "boots on the ground", but all just as important to the success of the multinational force - INTERFET.
Let me take a moment to describe the U.S. contribution to the East Timor effort. The U.S. is supplying unique capabilities to the force, capabilities that exist nowhere else: American planners are integrated into Australia's operations. We are providing unique intelligence capabilities, sophisticated communications, logistics support, airlift of other nations' forces to the area, and heavy lift within the area. All of these capabilities are what is known as force multipliers--more can be done with fewer troops because of them. Logistical support may not sound like much to civilians, but it is everything to the soldier in the field--food, water, fuel, ammunition, relief, the ability to have secure communications can literally be the difference between life and death.
The crisis has clearly shown that the U.S. and Australian militaries have exercised together so extensively and for so long that when real life contingencies occur, our forces pull together as if by reflex. The East Timor operation has been a model of the way the Australian-U.S. alliance should work and can work into the new century. Burden sharing is what our respective military doctrines call for. It is what we have practiced. It is what we are now implementing successfully. That, too, is part of our joint planning. We are proud of and grateful for Australia's leadership.
In addition, the United States will continue to look to Australia for the unique attributes it brings to our partnership. Among these attributes I should cite Australia's traditional, bipartisan support for a strong national defense. Australia's readiness to invest in its military capabilities sends a strong signal of serious intent, and makes it easier to justify sustained U.S. attention and support for Australia.
Let me conclude my discussion of our security relationship by saying that we will carry the ANZUS alliance forward, well into the next millennium. ANZUS formally binds the U.S and Australia. We expect that to be the case for years ahead. It is one of only a handful of mutual defense treaties to which the U.S. is committed around the globe. In an uncertain and sometimes chaotic world, ANZUS stands out as a solid pillar, a key support of the U.S.- Australian relationship
The second dimension of the U.S.-Australia relationship that I would like to discuss is our economic relationship. The status of U.S.-Australian trade is healthy and the volume is growing. The U.S. is now the second destination (and closing in on Japan) for Australian goods and services. In fact, Australian exports to the U.S. have grown three times as fast as its overall economy. Equally, we are the single largest source of exports into Australia, and the same pattern is true for investment. Freer world trade and investment is of paramount importance to both our peoples.
Although from time-to-time we have bilateral trade disputes--most recently lamb on Australia's side, salmon on ours-I think both countries realize that on broader issues we are, in fact, strategic partners. The task before us is to manage our trade differences realistically, since these are not going to disappear, while learning to make the most of our commonalties.
With so many goods and services moving around the planet, both of our countries see the need to work towards a better-regulated trading system. From its modest beginnings over 50 years ago, the GATT, now WTO, has come a long way. Perhaps the most important achievement of the last negotiating round was to move from a system that was informal and non-binding to a formal and legally binding system. We now have a set of rules and a dispute settlement mechanism that, taken as a whole, brings the rule of law to world trade. We have both used these mechanisms to address our bilateral disputes. Fair enough--that's what they are for and why we both worked so hard to get them--so bilateral disputes will not distract us from the bigger picture.
Next month in Seattle we will embark on a new WTO negotiating round, one that seeks to expand the rule of law to additional trade arenas. In this endeavor, the U.S. and Australia will undoubtedly find themselves closely aligned on many of the key issues that the Seattle round will take up.
In short, there is much more in our trade relationship and in our global trade interests that brings us together than pulls us apart.
I am confident about the continued strength of our alliance, the positive future of our relationship, and our abiding friendship. However, we still need to remind ourselves from time-to-time of what is at stake and what binds us together--we are bound not only by our history but by our future as well.
Turning now to U.S. relations with New Zealand, let me say that it is difficult to say anything dramatically different from what I have said about Australia.
I am happy to report that U.S.-New Zealand relations are better than they have been at any time since 1985. We may no longer be formal allies, as we are with Australia, but we are certainly good friends. This was conclusively demonstrated in September when President Clinton traveled to New Zealand for the APEC Leaders Meeting in Auckland. Following that meeting, the President spent two days on a State Visit that took him to Queenstown and Christchurch. His visit was only the second ever to New Zealand by an U.S. President, the first being a brief stopover by President Johnson back in 1967.
As many of you know who were in New Zealand in September, the Government and people of New Zealand gave President Clinton an extremely warm reception. From our point of view, the visit could not have gone any better. I suspect the fact that the President was so warmly received might have surprised some people who closely follow bilateral trade and security issues. But there really should not have been any surprise. As the President said at his press conference with Prime Minister Shipley, New Zealand and the United States share much in common. The United States and New Zealand cooperate closely on preserving the environment, promoting world trade, preserving the peace through international peacekeeping, and promoting human rights, to name just a few of our common interests. I expect that we will continue to share common interests far into the future. I suspect it was these shared interests that meant that instead of protesting crowds, the crowds that greeted President Clinton in Auckland were warm and friendly, often five or six people deep. We saw more American flags on display during the President's visit than we thought existed in New Zealand.
Let me turn now to some specific aspects of our relationship. Although defense and nuclear politics often grab the headlines, the fact is that our trade relationship is emerging as the dominant force in our relations. We are trading more with New Zealand than we ever have. I expect this trend to continue beyond the year 2000. The U.S. recently displaced Japan as New Zealand's second largest commercial partner. Anyone who walks into grocery stores in the Washington area will quickly see that "Grown in New Zealand" has really found a real place in our markets.
I will leave it to others at this conference to discuss the details of our dispute over lamb. For my part, I want to say that despite our differences over lamb, we know that our Kiwi (and Australian) friends are in this business for the long haul with a high quality product. We expect that the U.S. market for lamb can and will likely grow, not only for "down under" producers but for U.S. producers as well. What I would like to mention, and what might surprise you, is that lamb is a relatively small part of our bilateral trade volume. For example, last year New Zealand sent us an amount of beef that was 10 times the amount of New Zealand lamb we imported. The value of our seafood imports from New Zealand also far outpaced that of lamb last year. And we would be buying a lot more fine New Zealand wine if the Hawke's Bay and Marlborough vintners could produce and bottle enough.
As was clear at the APEC meetings, the United States and New Zealand cooperate very closely on trade issues involving the world community. Indeed, New Zealand has been a world champion of reform of international trade. Some surveys of the "world's freest economies" put New Zealand at or near the top of the list. As this year's APEC Chair, New Zealand did a marvelous job reinvigorating the forum and using it as a springboard for the upcoming WTO meetings in Seattle. There is a tremendous amount of energy going into preparations for the upcoming WTO ministerial and round of talks to follow. As I said about Australia, we hope to cooperate closely with our New Zealand friends before and during that important meeting. It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, that we are pleased to have the able leadership of New Zealander Mike Moore at the helm of the WTO as we move toward Seattle.
On security issues, we have come a long way since the mid-1980's when our relationship was quite strained. Although the so-called "unfinished business" remains, senior-level officials regularly consult with each other these days. Secretary Albright visited New Zealand last year. Prime Minister Shipley met the President and several U.S. cabinet members when she visited Washington earlier this year. Defense Minister Bradford has met twice with Defense Secretary Cohen in recent months, including a meeting in Darwin, Australia with Australian Defense Minister John Moore to discuss the crisis in East Timor.
Certainly there are limits to what we can do as long as New Zealand's nuclear legislation remains in force. But the limits on our relationship should not obscure either the things we can do together or make us forget what we have done together in the past. Our remarkable partnership has extended to every major war this century -- an incredible fact, especially given that it has been a very long century when it comes to war. We have fought side by side in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam.
More recently, we joined together in an international coalition to free the people of Kuwait. And our international partnership extends to areas short of war. New Zealand is one of the true international champions of global peacekeeping, from Angola to Bosnia to Bougainville. We have welcomed and appreciated New Zealand support in our efforts to keep weapons of mass destruction out of Iraq. I spoke a lot about Australia's contribution in East Timor. Well, New Zealand is making a major contribution there as well. Right now the largest contingent of troops serving in East Timor, after those from Australia, is from New Zealand. And there are many other cases of Kiwi involvement in the world community. U.S.-New Zealand cooperation in peacekeeping is a development that we welcome and which, I am sure, will continue in the years ahead. I could go on and on about the ties that bind the United States to Australia and New Zealand. For example, I have not even mentioned the personal connections, built up by decades of travel and stu dy. I see that that is a special topic on tomorrow's program. Let me stop here. I don't want to to uch on every item that will be up for discussion during this seminar. I hope it was enough for me to hit the high points.
Let me close by thanking you all for being here today. The U.S. relationships with Australia and N ew Zealand are and will remain important. The fact that you have all decided to attend these meetin gs shows that you understand this. The United States has so much in common with Australia and New Zealand. Working together, I believe our three countries can do much, not only for our own countri es and peoples, but for the world community as a whole. Thank you very much.