Foreign Minister Winston Peters' recent trip to North Korea was a key focus of his meetings with leading figures of the United States Administration in Washington today.
Foreign Minister Winston Peters' recent trip to North Korea was a key focus of his meetings with leading figures of the United States Administration in Washington today (Monday US time).
Mr Peters met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.
"Today's meetings were friendly and productive," Mr Peters said. "Secretary Rice welcomed the message I conveyed to North Korea, that New Zealand was willing to assist with economic development if it follows through on its denuclearisation commitments under the Six Party Talks.
"The United States is pleased with the progress being made in disabling some nuclear facilities in North Korea, and looks forward to moving into the dismantlement phase next year.
"We also talked about non-proliferation issues, developments in the South Pacific, and the positive progress being made in strengthening bilateral relations between New Zealand and the United States.
"I took the opportunity to discuss New Zealand's recent decisions on military and police deployments to Afghanistan, and was told that the US greatly appreciates the contributions we are making there.
"I also conveyed New Zealand's decision to join the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, which is an important part of the campaign to prevent nuclear materials being used to commit terrorist acts.
"The initiative, spearheaded by the US and Russia, focuses on securing nuclear materials at their source, strengthening interdiction capabilities, and ensuring countries are prepared to respond to an act of nuclear terrorism.
"My meeting with Secretary Chertoff focused on ways to strengthen New Zealand's relations with the Department of Homeland Security. There is a lot of potential to build on existing links, and strengthen cooperation in areas such as border security and the exchange of technology.
"It is clear from today's meetings that our bilateral relationship has reached a new level as a result of recent efforts by both governments," Mr Peters said.