(Bloomberg) -- New Zealand is open to discussing non-nuclear cooperation with the Aukus security partnership between the US, the UK and Australia, Defence Minister Andrew Little said. 

New Zealand has been asked whether it wants to take part in the second pillar of Aukus, which involves strategic technology sharing in areas such as quantum computing, Little said in a statement provided by his office Tuesday in Wellington.

“We have been offered the opportunity to talk about whether we could, or wish to, participate in the pillar-two aspect of it,” Little said. “I’ve indicated we will be willing to explore it, and that’s as far as that has gone.”

Aukus is wide-reaching tripartite security partnership signed in September 2021 under which Australia will acquire a fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines. New Zealand, which has a nuclear-free policy, has said it has no intention of becoming a full member of the pact.

“New Zealand isn’t part of Aukus at this point, and we won’t be part of the nuclear submarines arrangement in any event,” Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said yesterday. 

Asked if New Zealand could become involved in the information-sharing pillar of Aukus, Hipkins said: “we haven’t made decisions on that at this point.”

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