1. The 7th Korea-Pacific Islands Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM), which was presided by Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs of Korea Choi Youngsam, was held on March 24 in Nadi, Fiji, in the presence of senior officials from all the member states of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and those from the PIF Secretariat.
2. Deputy Minister Choi stressed that this meeting carried significance as part of the preparations for the 2023 Korea-Pacific Islands Summit, which will be held in Korea for the first time, and shared how the Korean government is preparing for the event. And Deputy Minister Choi exchanged with the other participants views on the progress in cooperation and ways to enhance relations between Korea and Pacific island countries.
- The SOM delegates took note of Korea’s efforts to prepare for the Summit and pledged to cooperate to the fullest extent in preparing for the Summit, including by drawing up concrete deliverables.
3. In his opening remarks, Deputy Minister Choi said that Korea and Pacific island countries have cooperated in various areas such as development cooperation, climate change, oceans and fisheries, people-to-people exchanges and regional affairs as well as on the international stage. He added that Korea will keep contributing for co-prosperity and development of the Pacific region.
- The senior officials discussed ways to enhance cooperation and pledged to continue exploring, based on their various opinions, ways to work together in order for the Summit to produce concrete and substantive deliverables.
4. On the sidelines of SOM, Deputy Minister Choi held bilateral meetings with all the other SOM delegates.
- Deputy Minister Choi highlighted Korea’s contributions on climate change and sustainable development through various development cooperation projects in the Pacific region, and spoke about Korea’s future plan to cooperate with the region in the fields of climate change, oceans, and human capacity development.
- The Pacific island countries requested Korea render support for the post-COVID-19 restoration of the Pacific region through projects in the areas of people-to-people exchanges, agricultural production, Saemaul Undong (movement), and forestry cooperation.
- During the meeting with PIF Secretary General Mr. Henry Puna, Deputy Minister Choi emphasized the important role of the PIF Secretariat in strengthening Korea-Pacific islands cooperation and asked for its active cooperation for the success of the upcoming Summit.