President Barack Obama says America's improving trade and military ties with New Zealand show relations between the two countries are "growing stronger by the day."
He spoke during an Oval Office meeting Friday with Prime Minister John Key that included a review of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement being negotiated between America and eight regional allies.
The two also discussed Afghanistan, where New Zealand is winding up its role in the NATO-led coalition. Said Key: "We're great friends and strategic partners."
On Wednesday, Key announced he's invited U.S. Marines to New Zealand for a World War II commemoration next year _ a significant step, since New Zealand's anti-nuclear-weapons policy has effectively barred U.S. warships for a quarter century.