NEW ZEALAND LIKELY TO RAISE WHALING DISPUTE WITH JAPAN

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand (April 3, 2001 – Radio Australia)---New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said her country’s opposition to continued Japanese whaling will probably be raised during her five-day visit to Japan later this month.

The visit is to strengthen political and economic ties with Japan, New Zealand’s second largest trading partner.

Relations between Japan and New Zealand have been strained by the whaling issue, with Japan taking up to 500 whales a year as part of its scientific whaling research program.

Clark’s government strongly opposes the Japanese program, and is pursuing proposals for a southern oceans whale sanctuary through the International Whaling Commission.

Clark will also visit Beijing for meetings with top officials to improve its trading position with China in the lead-up to its accession to the World Trade Organization.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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