29 May 2023, Seoul, Korea – The Pacific Islands Forum Chair and Cook Islands Prime Minister, the Hon. Mark Brown has thanked the President of the Republic of Korea, His Excellency Yoon Suk Yeol and fellow Pacific Islands Forum Leaders for an “open and constructive dialogue on matters critical to the future of our Blue Pacific region.”
In closing remarks following the formal Summit with the Korea and Pacific Islands Leaders, the Forum Chair said the inaugural Summit has “provided a space for meaningful discussion on our visions and priorities for the region, including existing global issues”.
A round table of high-level statements discussed areas for development cooperation, climate change as the single greatest threat to the Pacific, the special circumstances of Pacific countries and the need for tailored support, the Pacific resilience facility, and nuclear legacy and Fukushima wastewater issues, among others. The issue of the ocean, and the need to protect it, was a key aspect of the discussions.
In the same vein, Pacific countries appreciated the opportunity to brief Korea on the Forum Members ongoing commitment to Pacific regionalism and the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and its Implementation Plan, and to hear and learn about Korea’s future engagement and support in the Pacific.
Throughout the dialogue, the Korea and Pacific Islands Forum contributions progressed desired outcomes for the Summit, including a shared desire to strengthen the dialogue partnership between Korea and the Pacific Islands Forum. Discussions also touched on specific areas including in development cooperation, economic recovery, climate change and disaster risk and resilience, ocean governance, maritime affairs and fisheries, and people-to-people exchange.
The summit also sought common ground and alignment on regional and international areas of interest, including nuclear non-proliferation and the criticality of keeping our ocean and maritime resources free of environmental pollution by radioactive wastes and other radioactive matter.
A key win for the Pacific was the unequivocal support demonstrated by Korea to the 2021 PIF Declaration on Preserving Maritime Zones in the face of Sea Level Rise.
Forum Leaders in particular welcomed Korea’s commitment to strengthened engagement in the Pacific region, highlighted by the elevation of engagements to the highest political level and doubling of its Overseas Development Aid support to the Pacific among other announcements. They stressed the need to use existing regional mechanisms through alignment to the 2050 Strategy.
“I am pleased to say that today’s discussions have been led by the Forum’s guiding principles – we strive for effective, open and honest relationships, and inclusive and enduring partnerships with each other, within our sub-regions, within our region and beyond – it’s clear that our partnership can help drive and safeguard the sustainable and resilient development of the Blue Pacific”, said Forum Chair, Prime Minister Brown.
The Forum Chair congratulated Summit co-chair, Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol, for the successful conclusion and hosting of the inaugural event. Leaders and Ministers had also attended key expo events in Busan around climate change and ocean. The opportunity to flag its bid for the 2030 World Expo in Busan was welcomed by the Forum members.
The Summit Outcomes Declaration and Action plan are available online —ENDS.