On 5 December 2017, Honorable Faiyaz Koya, Minister for Industry & Trade and Tourism (MITT) represented Fiji at the 3rd Republic of Korea–Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (ROK PICs FMM), which was held at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul.
Headed by the Honorable Faiyaz Koya, the Fijian delegation comprised officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MITT and the Embassy of the Republic of Fiji in Seoul.
Representatives from twelve Pacific Island Countries (PICs), namely the Cook Islands, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Nauru, Niue, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu attended the ROK-PICs. The Korean Government also invited the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFs).
Prior to the meeting, the Ministers paid a courtesy call on His Excellency Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea at Cheong Wa Dae as referred to in the Korean language or Presidential Blue House. During the meeting, the respective heads of delegations of the PICs collectively reaffirmed their support for combating climate change and underscored the importance of closer cooperation between Korea and the Pacific Island region to address this issue. President Moon reciprocated similar sentiments and acknowledged that climate change posed a grave threat to the security and economic resilience of Pacific Island countries and agreed on increasing the extent of the Korean Government’s support to effectively address the issue.
Following this, the 3rd ROK-PICs commenced proper with an opening address by Honorable Kang Kyung-hwa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, who recalled the outcomes of the previous ROK-PICs FMM as well as the ROK-PICs Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) held last year.
The ROK-PICs FMM focused on various aspects of multilateral cooperation underscoring the need for sustainable development in the Pacific region while addressing four thematic areas of cooperation including development cooperation, climate change, maritime affairs and fisheries, security and other matters of mutual interest. The foreign ministers’ also addressed maritime and fisheries cooperation and further committed to deepening national coordination within their respective countries and overall regional coordination in the Pacific.
During the meeting, Minister Kang announced the increase of the Korean Government’s annual grant to the ROK-PIF Cooperation Fund (RPCF) to USD$1.5 million by 2020.
The discussion also provided an opportunity for PICs representatives to renew the commitment of their respective governments’ in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) as part of the roadmap of the development of the Pacific. It was also discussed that a “Green and Blue Pacific” must be consensus-oriented.
In the end, a joint communiqué was released following the meeting citing the outcomes of the discussions of the 3rd ROK-PICs meeting and reaffirming support for the 4th Korea-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers’ Meeting which is scheduled to be held in 2020.