Photo: YONHAP News

Foreign ministers from South Korea and 14 Pacific island countries held virtual talks on Tuesday during which they agreed to hold a summit of their leaders, Seoul’s foreign ministry said.

As they agreed to expand cooperation on climate change and other issues of regional concern, the top diplomats also agreed to increase the frequency of their talks, from once every three years to every other year, the ministry said in a statement.

During the talks, South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong said Seoul will expand its development aid for Pacific island nations to help them cope with climate crisis.

Since 2011, South Korea and the 14 Pacific island nations have held talks of foreign ministers.

Taking part in the talks were Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Tonga, Palau, Niue, Nauru, Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa and the Cook Islands.

Meanwhile, Chung and Gustav Aitaro, Palau’s minister of state, held bilateral talks via video and the two nations agreed to gradually work towards putting in place an air travel bubble.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 10,000 Korean people per year had visited Palau.