WELLINGTON, New Zealand, March 11 (UPI) -- Files that Edward Snowden shared with a New Zealand newspaper have revealed the country's intelligence agency was spying on more than 20 Asia-Pacific nations, a system of mass surveillance that was created to support U.S. intelligence gathering in the region. The document, titled "NSA Intelligence Relationship with New Zealand" and classified as top secret, was created by a U.S. intelligence officer in charge of relations with New Zealand.
The country's Government Communications Security Bureau, or GCSB, was included in a spying alliance with the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia, called "Five Eyes."
As a member of the surveillance network, New Zealand was assigned to spy on Vietnam, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea.
New Zealand does not have diplomatic envoys in North Korea. According to New Zealand's foreign ministry, its ambassador to South Korea is responsible for engaging the North through visits to Pyongyang.
The New Zealand Herald reported New Zealand was spying on friendly nations, like Vietnam and Japan, and other areas that were "difficult for the U.S. to access."
Technology at New Zealand embassies plays a key role in intelligence gathering. Hidden eavesdropping posts inside embassy buildings, for example, could access target nation's internal communication networks.
The secret monitoring of trading partners, such as countries in South America and Japan, ran contrary to the state's official foreign policy, The New Zealand Herald reported.