New Zealand will increase its military contribution to N. Korea sanctions monitoring

By Lucy Craymer

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand will increase its contribution to North Korea sanctions monitoring, out of Japan, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said Tuesday.

Luxon said in a statement the government had committed to send New Zealand Defence Force ships for the first time and increase the frequency of deployments of aircraft, to support sanctions monitoring until September 2026.

“This increase reflects the importance New Zealand places on collective security efforts that support peace and stability and the international rules-based system in the Indo-Pacific region,” Luxon said.

The New Zealand government has been trying to step up international engagement both diplomatically and in its military contributions and earlier this month announced it would deploy more soldiers to the United Nations mission in South Korea.

However, recent government reports have noted the defence force faces significant challenges due to high levels of attrition following the pandemic and aging equipment. The New Zealand government has allocated less capital spending in the coming year but says it would like to increase spending following the release of the Defence Capability Report.

The report will lay out plans for new military spending over the coming years.

Minister of Defence Judith Collins told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday that she had received a draft copy of the report but hoped that the report could go to government ministers for approval in September or October.

(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)