US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is halfway through his tour of the Asia-Pacific region. The tour’s timing, coming just weeks after Esper was officially sworn in, affirms the notion that the Pentagon’s top priority is China. “Whoever sheds his blood for me today shall be my brother” – the closing lines from William Shakespeare’s play ‘Henry V’. These same words also apparently mark a corridor in a Pentagon hallway which pays homage to the military cooperation of New Zealand and the United States, especially during World War II. I didn’t know this, but I do now, thanks to US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s recent statement as he arrived in New Zealand this week – part and parcel of a five-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific region which also includes Japan, Mongolia and South Korea.
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