South Korea on Thursday welcomed the top diplomats from 14 Pacific island countries as the sides sought to expand cooperation on climate change and other issues of regional concern.
“It has been only three decades since Korea established bilateral ties with the Pacific Islands countries,” South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan said in a speech at the meeting in Seoul. “There is still much to be done to elevate our relations to our expectations.”
Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan (fourth from left, front row) poses for a photograph with his counterparts from Pacific island countries in the first Korea-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers’ meeting held in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap News)
Kim added that the sides will share views on expanding partnership in addressing environmental issues with a focus on climate change.
The First Korea-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers’ meeting drew Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Tonga, Palau, Niue, Nauru, Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa and the Cook Islands, according to the foreign ministry here.
During the meeting, South Korea is expected to sign a preliminary agreement to boost the exchange of tax-related information with Vanuatu, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Cook Islands, according to the ministry.
The foreign ministers from the island countries are scheduled to pay a courtesy call on President Lee Myung-bak on Wednesday, the ministry said.
“To cope with the sweeping influence of globalization across the world, cooperation among the Asia-Pacific countries is assuming ever greater importance,” Kim said. “It is high time for yet further significant advances in the relations between Korea and the Pacific island countries.”