DoD lifts ban on New Zealand warships

Monday - 9/24/2012, 8:34am EDT

The Defense Department lifted a 26-year-old ban on New Zealand warships entering U.S. bases.

Secretary Leon Panetta announced the change as he concluded a tour of Asian and Pacific countries. But New Zealand's Defense Minister said U.S. ships still may not enter its waters.

Back in 1986, New Zealand banned any U.S ship either nuclear powered or carrying nuclear weapons. The U.S. reciprocated. Panetta said the administration unilaterally lifted the ban to enhance a new security agreement forged between the two countries. Panetta lifted bans on joint exercises. And the U-S may help New Zealand increase its amphibious capabilities.

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