19th May 2023, Suva— A record-setting month of high-level joint meetings for Pacific Leaders is growing the global spotlight on regional priorities including climate action, human security, and multilateralism.
Pacific delegations are gathering in Papua New Guinea for the 3rd Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC-III) on 22 May with India PM Shri Narendra Modi. The FIPIC III, which SG Puna is invited to attend as an observer, will be followed by a dialogue the same afternoon, between the full Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Pacific Leaders will also head to Seoul and Busan on a round of engagements culminating in a meeting with South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol at the inaugural Korea-Pacific Islands Summit in Seoul on 29 May.
“These high-level meetings are very important in taking forward the core strategic priorities of our 2050 vision for the Blue Pacific continent,” said Forum SG Henry Puna.
“Promoting our sovereign choices, supported by regional priorities and positions as one Blue Pacific, is a key part of ensuring we can also promote, partner and prosper the values of our Pacific Way as per the theme for this year’s Forum meeting in the Cook Islands,” he said.
Common issues likely to feature across all the May meetings include the 2050 Strategy, urgent climate action and sea level rise, protection of the ocean and maritime resources, nuclear legacy, and related issues, and advancing resilient and inclusive economic growth.
Speaking of the opportunity to observe the FIPIC III, SG Puna welcomed the invitation to Port Moresby as an entry point to inclusion for the full Forum membership.
“The Pacific Islands Forum represents the collective will of all our Forum Leaders and India is a key dialogue partner to the organisation. I am confident the FIPIC III discussions will cover new commitments to working with the Pacific under the new 2050 Strategy for our Blue Pacific future,” he said.
Pacific Leaders had been looking forward to a historic dialogue meet with US President Biden, who is now unable to travel due to domestic priorities. SG Puna said notwithstanding the changed travel plans for the US President “Pacific Leaders welcome the opportunity presented by the upcoming dialogue with Secretary Blinken to progress the outcomes of the inaugural summit last year and strengthen the commitments to reinvigorated engagement between us,” he said.
Within days of the PNG back-to-back summits, Pacific Forum Leaders will regroup in Seoul, South Korea, for the inaugural high level South Korea-Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting.
“The relationship between Pacific Forum nations and Korea has grown from strength to strength over the years, with consultations between senior Officials and then Foreign Ministers and now, our Leaders. As a Forum Dialogue partner, South Korea also supports our regional work programs, ensuring tangible benefits for our people.”
SG Puna said the full credit for success and follow up actions to high level meetings “must go to the Forum Leaders for their tireless resolve and collective strength to ensure our regional agenda delivers for a better Pacific, and a better world.” — ENDS