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New Zealand, Australia reaffirm ANZAC defense cooperation

12-20-2011 12:39 BJT

WELLINGTON, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand and Australia will continue defense cooperation based on the ANZAC tradition, defense ministers of the two countries have reaffirmed.

In a telephone conversation over the weekend, Australian defense Minister Stephen Smith and New Zealand defense Minister Jonathan Coleman discussed trans-Tasman defense cooperation, said a New Zealand government statement Tuesday.

The ministers also discussed the ANZAC Ready Response Force, regional security and Australian and New Zealand defense reform programs.

"Australia and New Zealand have a strong defense relationship built on the ANZAC tradition," said Smith in the statement.

"This spirit of cooperation continues with combined operations currently in the Solomon Islands and East Timor, as well as our respective commitments to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Australia greatly values our capacity to work together."

Coleman said the defense relationship had always been good, but there were opportunities for closer cooperation with Australia through capability development and cost-efficient cooperation.

"Both of us look forward to exploring those opportunities," said Coleman.

Smith also congratulated Coleman on his appointment as minister for defense. Coleman took over from the retiring Wayne Mapp after New Zealand's general election last month.

ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, commemorated by both countries on April 25 every year to honor the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps ( ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

It more broadly commemorates all those who died and served in military operations for their countries.

The defense ministers would meet in person early next year, said the statement.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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