Cook Islands co-chair 7th Korea – Pacific Island Senior Officials Dialogue

Cook Islands co-chair 7th Korea – Pacific Island Senior Officials Dialogue

Rarotonga, Cook Islands, 29 March 2023 - Senior Officials representing the 18 member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and the Republic of Korea convened in Nadi last week on 24 March 2023, to discuss current and future Korea-Pacific Islands cooperation.

The Senior Officials Dialogue, the 7th since the establishment of the Korea-Pacific Islands Dialogue in 2011, was co-chaired by Tepaeru Herrmann, Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration on behalf of PIF, and Young-Sam Choi, Deputy Foreign Minister on behalf of the Republic of Korea.

In her opening remarks, co-chair Secretary Herrmann said, “The Pacific Islands Forum greatly values our close partnership and engagement with the Republic of Korea, which is a long-standing and important dialogue partner to the Forum and a crucial development partner to the Pacific Islands region.”

The Republic of Korea became a Dialogue Partner of the Pacific Islands Forum in 1995.

Over the last 12 years, the Korea-Pacific Islands Dialogue, which culminates in the triennial Korea-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers Meeting, has served to frame Korea-Pacific Islands bilateral and regional cooperation.

At last year’s 5th Korea-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers Meeting, both sides committed to elevate the relationship and expand bilateral and regional cooperation.

Last week’s Dialogue will inform preparations towards the first Korea-Pacific Islands Leaders’ Summit to be hosted by Korea in May, where Leaders will consider recommendations from officials, and the issuance of a Joint Declaration with an accompanying Joint Action Plan is expected.

During the Dialogue, Senior Officials also took stock of past and current areas of cooperation and discussed ways to further deepen engagement and cooperation in economic recovery and access to finance; climate change and disaster risk and resilience; ocean governance, maritime affairs, and fisheries; as well as people-to-people exchanges and cooperation in the international arena.

“Last week’s Dialogue with Korea affirmed the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent as the blueprint of our Forums articulation of regional priorities and the importance the Forum places on development partners working within our established regional mechanisms, including our Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP),” said Secretary Herrmann.

“We acknowledge Korea’s Strategy for a free, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific Region and look forward to working closely with Korean counterparts in the coming weeks to ensure recommendations for the consideration of our Leaders during the May Summit, support current economic recovery efforts, strengthen our individual and collective resilience and provide meaningful outcomes for the peoples of the Pacific and Korea.”

The Korea-Pacific Islands Leaders’ Summit, held in Seoul in May, will be chaired by PIF Chair and Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, the Hon. Mark Brown, and the President of the Republic of Korea, His Excellency Yoon Suk Yell.

PIF members were supported in their engagement with Korea during the Dialogue by Dr. Filamon Manoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and PIFS officials.