U.S. Embassy & Consulate in New Zealand, COOK ISLANDS and NIUE -- Admiral John C. Aquilino, the commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), has arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand for an official visit to meet with senior leaders in the New Zealand government and the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).
Admiral Aquilino assumed command of USINDOPACOM on April 30, 2021. This is his first visit to Aotearoa New Zealand in his new role.
USINDOPACOM includes 380,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Department of Defense civilians and is responsible for all U.S. military activities in the Indo-Pacific, covering 36 nations, 14 time zones, and more than 50 percent of the world’s population.
“I am delighted to welcome Admiral Aquilino to Aotearoa New Zealand for his first official visit. This year marks the 80th anniversary of U.S. Marines arriving on Aotearoa’s shores before embarking for the Pacific theatre in WWII, and this visit, soon after the borders reopened, reinforces the value of the continued U.S.-NZ partnership in the Pacific,” said U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand Tom Udall.
“During Prime Minister Ardern’s recent visit to the White House, President Biden emphasized the importance of a free and more open Indo-Pacific, preserving the international rules-based order in the maritime domain, and the necessity that states be able to pursue their interests free from coercion. With climate change the largest existential threat to the Pacific region, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing on the increase, partnerships like those between the United States and Aotearoa New Zealand are more important than ever. The challenges we face today may be different from those of 80 years ago, but we will continue to face them together.”
Prior to becoming commander of USINDOPACOM, Admiral Aquilino served as the 36th commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet. He previously served as the commander of Carrier Strike Group 2 aboard USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN 77) and the commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. Fifth Fleet/Combined Maritime Forces.