SYDNEY— New Zealand said Thursday it will contemplate sharing advanced military technologies with the United States and Britain as it pursues closer defense ties with Australia amid worries over an increasingly assertive China.
The defense and foreign ministers of Australia and New Zealand met in Melbourne to discuss deepening security ties between the neighboring nations. It was their first joint meeting since New Zealand’s right-leaning coalition government took office last year.
Australia announced it will send officials to New Zealand this year to discuss the three-way defense partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
China, the United States and others are wrangling for influence in the strategically crucial Pacific.
The U.S. and Britain have agreed to provide Australia with a fleet of submarines powered by U.S. nuclear technology.
New Zealand has banned nuclear-powered ships from using its ports since 1984, However, it is pondering whether to become involved in a commitment between Australia, Britain and the United States to develop and share advanced military capabilities, including artificial intelligence, electronic warfare and hypersonic technology.
Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong expressed concern about allegations that several employees of the main U.N. aid agency in the war-battered Gaza Strip participated in the deadly Hamas attack on Israel four months ago. But she hinted at a possible resumption of the agency’s funding from Australia in the “absence of any alternatives”.
At least 10 countries, including Australia, have suspended funding to Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, known as UNRWA, over the allegations..