Greens warn against joining trilateral military talks

Green Party Defence Spokesperson Keith Locke today warned against New Zealand joining the trilateral military talks between Japan, Australia and America announced yesterday.

“Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi may ask us to join when he talks to the Government today.

“For New Zealand to be moving into a closer military relationship with Japan, Australia and America would damage New Zealand’s relations with other Asian countries, particularly China,” said Mr Locke.

“New Zealand benefits by being seen internationally as a non-aligned, nuclear-free country, concentrating on peacekeeping ventures like that in East Timor.

“Unfortunately, New Zealand’s participation in the US-led war in Afghanistan has tarnished our reputation as an independent peacemaker, and New Zealand joining the Japan / Australia / United States talks would damage it further.

“I will try to get an assurance from the Government that New Zealand won’t be involved,” said Mr Locke.