The United States has accepted an invitation from New Zealand to attend a naval celebration in November, more than 30 years after the country blocked a US ship from docking.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said a US ship intends to attend the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary if the ship meets the country’s legal nuclear requirements, which first sparked a dispute between the two nations in 1985.
“We are naturally pleased the US is taking up the invitation,” Mr. Key told the New Zealand Herald. “It is a further demonstration of the strength of our close relationship, our friendship and our shared values.”
The debate between the two started in the mid-1980s, when the New Zealand government refused a docking request by the USS Buchanan after the United States would not confirm or deny if the destroyer were carrying nuclear weapons. New Zealand had passed a law barring any nuclear-powered ships or ships carrying nuclear arms from entering New Zealand’s waters.
That act started a now-decades long period of disagreement between the two nations, although they remained close allies throughout. The US considered the refusal a breach of the ANZUS – the Australia, New Zealand, US Security Treaty – and suspended its related obligations to New Zealand in 1986.
Full article: US Navy plans on return to New Zealand after 30-year nuclear rift (Christian Science Monitor)