The Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs Republic of Korea
Heads of State, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen
The 3rd Pacific – Korea Foreign Ministers meeting coincides with my assuming of the Chair of the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Meeting recently hosted in Apia, Samoa over the next twelve months. I am happy to join all of you to continue the dialogue on some of the issues that have emerged and discussed at other international meetings this year including COP 23 and the 48th Pacific Islands Forum which also converge on the Korea- Pacific relations. I am particularly optimistic of the recognition of the need for enhanced relations and partnership particularly in the areas of mutual interest to the region and Korea.
First and foremost let me underscore the importance of numbers and being able to have a strong and collective voice, a regional position and action, on issues vital to our development as a region and as the new Blue Pacific continent. The Blue Pacific narrative adopted at the September Forum Leaders meeting, was in recognition by the Leaders of their shared ocean identity, geography and resources which is what defines Pacific peoples and is the source of transformative potential. If I might add, there are two additions to the Forum membership of French Polynesia and New Caledonia. Therefore, securing the wellbeing and potential of The Blue Pacific is at the centre of the Forum Agenda.
Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen, the current Forum Agenda encourages members to engage more closely and strategically, to advocate foreign policy priorities affecting ‘The Blue Pacific’ in order to influence actors, partners and agreements in a way that supports the Agenda. Furthermore the Forum strives for open and genuine relationships, and inclusive and enduring partnerships within our region and beyond.
Moreover, the Forum Agenda aims to secure the health and wellbeing of all our peoples, particularly the most vulnerable among us. This will require enhancing the resilience of our oceans, our islands, and our economies through well coordinated efforts in disaster and climate change risk reduction, as well as ensuring greater access to financing for resilience, climate adaptation and disaster responsive facilities. Enabling greater Blue Pacific connectivity will promote trade both within our region and globally and will allow greater mobility of our people to access employment around the region.
Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen, Forum Leaders agreed that protecting The Blue Pacific will require a collective security architecture that recognizes, promotes and provides security in the broadest sense of the term. There is commitment to working together to ensure the security of our shared ocean geography, resources and ecosystems therein from unsustainable exploitation and illegal activities, including illegal fishing and transnational crime. The Forum Agenda seeks to protect our ocean environment and our people from the scourges of nuclear weapons and pollution, from violent conflict and human rights abuses, and from impacts of climate change and disasters. My colleagues will focus more on the specifics of these issues with regard to the Korean-Pacific relations.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the region is highly appreciative of the continuing support, assistance and advocacy provided by the Republic of Korea regionally, globally and at bilateral level. We also acknowledge the importance of the Republic of Korea’s active engagement as a Forum Dialogue partner and in particular, the ongoing political dialogue that is necessary to monitor progress against the commitments made at the previous Republic of Korea-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers Meeting. It is my sincere hope that the 3rd Ministerial Meeting would also provide the opportunity to reflect on the regional agenda inclusive of the region’s priority setting process under the Pacific Framework for Regionalism, articulated by the 48th Pacific Islands Forum in Samoa and as I have briefly outlined.
In conclusion we look forward to fruitful discussions and I have the pleasure now to declare open the 3rd Republic of Korea-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers meeting.