The foreign relations of New Zealand are oriented chiefly toward developed democratic nations and emerging Pacific Island economies. Until the late 20th century, New Zealand aligned itself strongly with the United Kingdom (as a former British colony) and had few bilateral relationships with other countries. From the latter half of the 20th century, Australia has been New Zealand's most important cultural, economic and military partner. Today, the country participates in several multilateral political organisations, including Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Pacific Community, and the Pacific Islands Forum. New Zealand has been described as an emerging power; however, such a claim needs to be considered in the context of its medium-sized economy and limited military capability. The country's major political parties have generally agreed on the broad outlines of foreign policy, and the government has been active in promoting free trade, nuclear disarmament, and arms control.