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Fiji enlists New Zealand navy to help patrol seas

Pacific state turns back to neighbor after cosying up with China, Russia

HMNZS Hawea, a New Zealand navy inshore patrol boat, heading to the South Pacific on a diplomatic mission. (Photo by Michael Field)

AUCKLAND -- A New Zealand naval ship will be deployed to Fiji for six months in May to help local forces patrol the 1.3 million square kilometer exclusive economic zone that has been plagued by illegal fishing and drug trafficking.

New Zealand Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and his Fiji counterpart Inoke Kubuabola reached a deal on April 6 to base HMNZS Hawea in the capital Suva to help struggling local forces.

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