After a three decade long dispute with New Zealand over port bans on ships carrying nuclear weapons, the Navy is close to patching up relations with the country.
According a statement from the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, the United States Navy will be allowed to send a ship to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy this upcoming November.
The rift between the two countries began in 1985 when the New Zealand government denied access to port for the guided-missile destroyer USS Buchanan because the United States would not relinquish details regarding whether or not the destroyer had nuclear weapons aboard.
Since the end of the Cold War, the United States removed all nuclear weapons from ships that are on the surface, but yet they still keep the profile of not revealing whether or not these ships have nuclear weapons aboard.
Following the incident, the U.S. ended training with New Zealand and caused a rift between the two countries. The ANZUS treaty of 1951, which is a collective security agreement between Australia, the United States and New Zealand on military matters in the Pacific region, was then taken with a gran of salt as the two countries did not meet eye to eye.
In order for ships to enter New Zealand, the law requires the prime minister to make the decision on whether or not they are allowed in if there is suspicion that they are carrying nuclear weapons.
John Key, the New Zealand prime minister, told the New Zealand Herald that he would allow a U.S. ship to enter depending on what vessel would be sent to the celebration.
“Our bilateral military cooperation with New Zealand is strong, and we continue to partner in humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and peacekeeping support operations,” Mabus said in the statement.