21 Jul 2016

Biden visit to assert US role in Pacific

10:13 am on 21 July 2016

A renewed focus on the Asia-Pacific region is behind the American Vice President's brief visit to New Zealand.

Joe Biden arrived in Auckland last night, the first high-level United States visitor in more than fifteen years.

He told more than one-hundred people gathered at a community and business leaders' reception in Auckland that he was on a Pacific tour to assert the United States' role in the region.

"We have a vested interest in ensuring growth, stability and economic prosperity throughout this entire region and I think we're better equipped to do that when we stand side by side to advance our mutual interests."

Joe Biden will this morning hold formal talks with New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key and lay a wreath at the Auckland War Memorial, before flying out.

US Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Auckland. 20 July 2016.

Photo: POOL / NZME