(Newsroom America) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the United States still faces "huge threats in the world" including from countries such as North Korea and Iran even as U.S. forces draw down in Afghanistan.
Speaking to TVNZ at the tail end of his visit to New Zealand, Mr Panetta said the U.S. had seen some great successes bringing the war in Iraq to an end, assisting with ending the Gaddafi regime in Libya and in the war on terror but big threats remained.
"We are still a country that faces huge threats in the world. We face the threat from North Korea in this region, and the potential that they could engage in provocative behavior that could very well result in war.
"We face the problem from Iran and the fact that they might try to obtain a nuclear capability as well," he said.
Mr Panetta said the Middle East was a volatile region now between Iran, Syria and the situation in general.
"It is a volatile area and it is one we are concerned about," he said.
Cyber warfare was also a major concern for the United States, he said, which was particularly a concern for the future.
"We are concerned about how do we deal with rising powers, like China, like India, like Brazil so that they can be part of the international family as opposed to being outliers.
"And so there is a series of threats that we continue to confront in today's world, and add to that we continue to fight the war on terrorism. We are fighting it in Yemen, we are fighting it in Somalia, North Africa, we continue to be at war in Afghanistan. When you put all that together the countries of the world have got to be vigilant in dealing with those threats.
"This is no longer a world in which you face just one enemy or one superpower. What we are facing is an array of threats in which we are going to have to be flexible and agile and work together in alliances to be able to confront and provide for security for the world," he said.
During his visit to New Zealand, Mr Panetta lifted a ban on Royal New Zealand Navy ships visiting the U.S., which was imposed in 1987 in response to New Zealand passing laws which banned nuclear-armed and powered vessels from its ports.