Christopher Luxon doesn't deny NZ could open airspace up to Singapore drone trials

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has condemned Iran's strikes on Israel.     

But he was unable to say why New Zealand didn't condemn Israel when it attacked Iran's embassy.  

Luxon made the comments on his first major overseas trip to Southeast Asia to strengthen ties.  

In Singapore on Monday, Luxon inspected the military guard as defence capability rockets to front of mind.    

"The reality is we're living in a more volatile, more uncertain, more complex, more ambiguous world. There is a lot more geostrategic competition as you have all observed. It's important that we actually deepen relationships," he said.    

As the Prime Minister was en route to Singapore to deepen relationships in Southeast Asia, Iran fired hundreds of missiles at Israel.    

A message came through to the Defence Force as he was in the air.   

"Clearly we condemn the actions of Iran," Luxon said. "This is something quite different and it's quite a delicate moment in the history of the region."   

Quick to condemn Iran, but when Israel attacked an Iranian embassy in Damascus, there was silence from New Zealand.    

Asked why the decision was made not to condemn Israel's strike on the Iranian Embassy, Luxon said: "What I'd just say to you is what we've seen is an Iranian strike which is unprecedented from Iranian soil onto Israeli soil and that's something that we don't want to see an escalation of."   

When Iran's embassy was hit, it warned of retaliation, but the Prime Minister refused to say whether Israel provoked Iran.  

"I'm not getting into that, again our position is clear."   

Asked if there should be strong condemnation from the West, he said: "Our position is very clear sitting here in New Zealand, what we want to see in that part of the world is actually peace and stability."   

It's not the only part of the world that's feeling too volatile for comfort.     

"I don't think we are close to a world war, I think it's a very troubled world and in particular it's a very, very troubled Middle East," said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.  

 "Nothing is going to solve the problems in the Middle East in the foreseeable future. They can be managed. You can calm things down. You can try and get back onto track onto talking about talking about peace."  

Singapore and New Zealand have a long-standing security relationship – something the PM is keen to build on.     

"We've historically had joint exercises, whether that's back home in New Zealand or whether that's overseas in the region as well. And I want to see these continue and continue to deepen frankly."    

Newshub has learned Singapore is interested in finding clear airspace, something New Zealand has plenty of, for trialling unmanned aerial vehicles or drones.   

Asked if he will open up our airspace, Luxon said: "Those are things we'll continue to discuss. I'm up for deepening our defence ties with Singapore. Period. I'm up for any of that conversation."   

So that's not a no?   

"Not a no, nope."    

Exploring every option to deepen security ties at a time we may need them most.