New Zealand has announced that a decades-old ban on the entry of any nuclear-powered naval vessel into its country’s waters will apply to submarines that Australia intends to acquire due to its partnership with Washington and London.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today, Thursday, in a statement that New Zealand’s position regarding preventing nuclear-powered vessels from entering its waters has not changed.
She added that her Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, informed her of his country’s intention to build nuclear-fueled submarines with the help of the United States and Britain.
“This arrangement in no way changes our security and intelligence relations with these three countries, nor with Canada,” Ardern added.
But the Prime Minister stressed that her country would not exempt the submarines that Australia intends to acquire from the ban in force since 1985 on the entry of nuclear-powered ships into New Zealand waters.
New Zealand imposed the ban following France’s nuclear tests in the Pacific about 4 decades ago.
The USA, which seeks to strengthen its alliances in all directions to confront Beijing, announced the formation of a strategic security alliance in the Indo-Pacific region, including London and Canberra.
The announcement of the new tripartite security treaty, dubbed “OCOS”, came during a virtual summit hosted by US President Joe Biden at the White House, in which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Scott Morrison participated via video.
New Zealand Prime Minister played down the treaty’s implications for the Five Eyes Five-Eyes Security Partnership between the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Because of this embargo, no US warship has docked in a New Zealand port in more than 30 years.
The only exception occurred in late 2016 when the destroyer USS Sampson visited Wellington Harbor. The visit took place after then-New Zealand Prime Minister John Key granted the destroyer a special dispensation, saying at the time that he was “100 percent confident” it was neither armed nor nuclear-powered.