New Zealand is beefing up its security ties with Japan in the face of "unprecedented challenges" through a plan to share more classified information on international issues.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sat down with her Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida late on Thursday in Tokyo, in their first conversation since Kishida's election last year.
The two leaders agreed to have their officials drum up a deal which would see more "seamless" sharing of classified material.
The type of information which would be exchanged is unclear, but a spokesperson for the prime minister said it would not be intelligence.
Speaking at the conclusion of the meeting, Ardern said the initiative would support "peace, stability, and security in the Pacific and wider Indo-Pacific region".
"This partnership matters," she said. "Japan and New Zealand must cooperate in what is a deeply uncertain global environment."
In translated remarks, Kishida described the leaders' discussion as "frank" and said it had resulted in "concrete outcomes".
"Attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force cannot be allowed in any region wherever that may be," he said.
The development comes amid heightened global tensions as Russia wages war on Ukraine and China tests its influence in the Pacific through a security pact with Solomon Islands.
Neither leader directly referenced China in their remarks, but a joint written statement notes "serious concerns" about actions in both the East and South China Sea.
It also reiterates "the need to address growing strategic challenges in the Pacific that could destabilise the regional security environment".
Ardern and Kishida also agreed to collaborate on sustainable economic growth, with a particular focus on food and beverage, technology and renewable energy.
"Our economic links are strong and we have long-standing investment partnerships," Ardern said.
"There is significant potential to grow our trade and to work together to transform our economies for a low-carbon future."
Ardern announced up to $8 million of funding for joint research between the two countries on technologies like renewable energy.