By Pita Ligaiula in Seoul
Cook Islands Prime Minister and Forum Chair Mark Brown is of the view the 2050 Pacific Strategy for Blue Pacific continent and Indo Pacific strategy will benefit both the region and its development partners.
Brown told Pacific media every country has its own sovereign rights to be able to develop its own strategies.
“I think we’ve seen countries like the U.S, Australia, Japan, refer to the Indo Pacific and Indo Pacific strategy. Those are strategies that these countries have established.
“Our strategy is the 2050 strategy for a Blue Pacific continent. And really, if there are areas of convergence for these two strategies, then it must be mutual benefits to seek cooperation and expand, said PM Brown.
The Forum Chair emphasised every country has its own sovereign rights to be able to develop its own strategies.
Small island nations are often considered to be pawns in the larger geopolitical debate. For example, Washington and Beijing seek to provide development aid as an alternative to each other in the region.
“For many years, you know, we’re a region that’s been spoken about by a number of the world leaders and the largest countries in the world. And our message really is, if they are serious about us, don’t talk about us come and talk with us and understand our priorities, the areas we see that you can fit into help us achieve our development goals.
“And by doing it as a collective, we are getting an even better response from all of the Pacific countries.
“The one thing that countries do hold very important, very dear, is their sovereignty, independence and the ability to be able to take a position independently,” said PM Brown.
Brown said the Pacific recognised the importance of sovereignty when dealing with development partners.
“And we recognise it sometimes in the collective position we take. There will be one of our members or some of our members that will have a very strong view that does not align with the views of the other members. And if I use an example of fisheries for example, some countries have very strong views about allowing distant water fishing nations to come in and fish in our waters.
“Some of our members are reliant on this for their revenues and are putting in place a regional approach to manage our fishery, to ensure sustainability, to ensure a fair return for their resources, said the Cook Islands Prime Minister and Forum Chair.