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A 27-year U.S.-New Zealand nuclear feud rears its ugly head

Next month, "22 nations, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel" are participating in RIMPAC, the world’s largest international naval exercise in Hawaii. But one country’s forces have been barred from entering Pearl Harbor, where 42 surface ships from 11 nations — including first-time participant Russia — will be based during the excercise. ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Next month, "22 nations, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel" are participating in RIMPAC, the world’s largest international naval exercise in Hawaii. But one country’s forces have been barred from entering Pearl Harbor, where 42 surface ships from 11 nations — including first-time participant Russia — will be based during the excercise. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser‘s William Cole explains

In 1985, citing its nuclear-free policy, New Zealand denied port access to the American destroyer Buchanan because the Navy would neither confirm nor deny that the ship was nuclear armed.

The United States said it was suspending its security obligations to New Zealand under what was known as the ANZUS treaty (Australia, New Zealand, United States) until U.S. Navy ships were readmitted to Kiwi ports, and it ended most bilateral activities.

Wilkinson said that while the nuclear-free policy remains, the 2010 Wellington Declaration "established a new framework for an expanded relationship and nearly normalized the relationship."

"We continue to partner within existing limitations, which include not allowing New Zealand Navy ships to visit U.S. military ports," she said.

New Zealand’s two warships (including the frigate Te Kaha, pictured above) will be docked closer to Honolulu, which doesn’t sound all that rough. The two countries signed their latest military cooperation agreement on June 19, but apparently things have quite been normalized completely.

Hat tip: Lauren Jenkins 

 Twitter: @joshuakeating

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