Destroyer will be 1st US Navy ship to visit New Zealand in 3 decades
The Navy is sending the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson to New Zealand next month, ending a 3-decade-old chill between the Pacific allies over nuclear weapons.
The ship will travel to Auckland to help celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy, Lt. Commander Matt Knight, U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman, confirmed in an email Tuesday.
Under New Zealand’s nuclear-free legislation, the prime minister must be satisfied that foreign military vessels are not armed with nuclear weapons before entering the country.
“I have granted this approval after careful consideration of the advice provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade,” Prime Minister John Key said in a recent statement. “New Zealand’s legislation also does not allow ships which are nuclear propelled into New Zealand, and the advice I received from officials is that the USS Sampson is not nuclear powered.”
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