Sydney, Australia, Jul 22 (EFE).- New Zealand announced Friday the deployment of a three-month mission to provide military support to Pacific Island countries.
“Our Royal New Zealand Navy ships HMNZS Wellington and HMNZS Manawanui will be departing New Zealand next week for a series of support activities under the banner Operation Mahi Tahi which also includes maritime patrols by Orion aircraft,” Minister of Defence Peeni Henare said in a statement.
The government will partner with defense and fisheries officials in Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu for the operation, which will include “patrols to detect and deter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as well as undertaking reconnaissance of explosive remnants of war; training and capacity building in the fisheries sector; humanitarian aid and disaster relief planning and Pacific Defence Gender Network engagement.”
New Zealand reaffirmed its commitment to the peace and security of this strategic region during the Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ summit held last week in Fiji to address the climate crisis and issues related to security and the unity of its members in the face of China’s growing influence.
“The Pacific is who we are as well as where we are. The challenges our region faces are New Zealand’s too, which is why the region is both a foreign policy and defense priority for the government,” Henare said.
New Zealand and Australia are the two major Pacific powers. EFE