By Pita Ligaiula in Seoul
South Korea has declared that it supports the 2050 strategy for the Blue Pacific continent after the one-day Korea-Pacific Islands Summit that wraps up Monday.
Forum Chair and Cook Islands Prime Minister has paid tribute to the President of South Korea Yoon Suk Yeo for convening the inaugural Summit with Pacific leaders.
“It really is an indication of how important the Pacific region is to many of our development partners that they are now recognising the importance for Forum family convening meetings that include all members of Forum.
“They’re serious about their engagement, having this type of Summit demonstrates their real commitment to engaging the Pacific region.
“One of the critical aspects of it is recognising the Pacific 2050 strategy for the Blue Pacific continent and how their initiatives fit into our implementation plan for our region, and bilaterally as well for many other countries. But it is an emerging economy in this part of the world, Korea now is there with the likes of the People’s Republic of China, Japan, long term partners India we’ve just had the summit with last week and now, Korea is another really big player in the region wanting to have real meaningful engagement with countries.
“So, we look forward to that engagement with Korea, and some of the announcements that they’ve made including an increase in the funding that they provided to countries, an increase in the support for the partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum,” said Forum Chair Brown in an interview with Pacific media.
He said Korea has announced its plan to formalise diplomatic relations with all Pacific countries.
“They’ve just announced now they’re formalised diplomatic relations. For our members, they signed off with Niue this morning. So again, shows the real commitment towards engagement with the Pacific recognising each one of our countries and expanding the scope, contributions towards Pacific countries. And I think that’s a great thing for us in the region,” he said.
Brown said the joint declaration by Korea with Pacific Island Forum Leaders is a demonstration and their commitment to the region on how they choose to play a role in helping the Pacific fulfill their goals and aspirations.
“And I think that’s a great thing for us in the region. This increased interest has sparked some views of our region being an area of contestability from different development partners. But our messaging as a region has always been consistent that we see ourselves, not as a region or contestability but one of collaboration.
“There is more than enough room for everybody to play a role if you’re serious about helping Pacific Island countries, with their development aspirations, particularly coming out of COVID-19. The post pandemic recovery is a critical component for every one of our Pacific countries,” said PM Brown.
Brown said climate change remains an overriding issue for many decades.
“It’s really reassuring to hear the messaging that’s coming from these development partners about recognising our climate challenges as a region.
“Understanding that there needs to be more action on climate from these countries. And for us, that is reassuring. But of course, we will see what the commitment will be after these statements have been made, not just from Korea, but also more recently from the likes of the U.S, India and out traditional partners as well. All in all, I think a tremendous job done like bringing everybody together to have this summit here, said” said PM Brown.
The next Korea-Pacific Islands Summit will be held at a time and place mutually agreed upon by the two sides.