WELLINGTON, May 7 (Xinhua) -- A Royal New Zealand Navy frigate is visiting China and other ports in East Asia and the Pacific in support of "defense diplomacy" over the next month, the New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) announced Tuesday.
The HMNZS Te Mana was visiting ports in Vietnam, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Guam as part of a long-standing program of defense diplomacy in the region, before returning home in June, said a statement from the NZDF.
The statement did not name the ports, except for Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
The Te Mana had just successfully participated in Exercise Bersama Shield, a Five Power Defense Arrangements (FPDA) exercise that also involved forces from Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Kingdom in waters of the South China Sea, Singapore and Malaysia.
In the waters around Guam, the Te Mana would take part in activities with the U.S. Navy and dock at the U.S. Navy facility there.
The ship's docking there followed on from the announcement by the former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta during his visit to New Zealand in September last year, authorizing New Zealand navy ships to visit U.S. Navy facilities subject to a case-by-case waiver.
New Zealand navy ships had previously been banned from U.S. military ports after the New Zealand government implemented a ban on visits by nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered ships in the early 1980s.
In 2011, the Te Mana had to abandon a port visit to Shanghai after breaking down during a tour of Asia.
The Five Power Defense Arrangements provide a framework for defense co-operation between the five nations and was established in 1971.