02 June, 2011. The first and highest-level meeting between the Korean government and Pacific Islands Forum Countries has successfully completed and laid the groundwork for the Korean government to expand its network of diplomatic cooperation as well as its substantive cooperation to the Pacific with particular attention focused on climate change and the environment.
The Prime Minister & Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Lord Tu'ivakanō joined foreign ministers of 13 other Pacific Islands Forum countries in Seoul on 31 May 2011 to discuss specific ways to strengthen cooperation, including increasing the cooperation fund for the Pacific; expanding and improving educational and training projects; and holding the Foreign Minister's Meeting on a regular basis.
Korea's Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan introduced Korea's green-growth vision and its efforts to win the bid to host the COP18 in 2012 of which Tonga has favourably committed its support.
In his key statement, the Prime Minister & Minster for Foreign Affairs and Defence welcomed Korea's initiative to strengthen its cooperation with Pacific Island countries and its effort to join forces in the fight against the ongoing global forces threatening sea level rise, natural disasters and the uncertain global and financial climate that continue to confront our region.
He further encouraged increased trade with Korea, donor harmonization and supported energy & other initiatives to advance Tonga's economic growth. Following the Meeting, the Ministers adopted a joint statement containing major achievements of the Meeting.
While in Seoul, the Prime Minister & Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence also paid a courtesy call on Korea's President Lee Myung-bak.
The Prime Minister & Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence departs Seoul today for New Zealand where he is scheduled to hold high-level meetings including a bilateral with New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully before returning to Tonga on Monday 6 June 2011.
Issued by the: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nuku'alofa, 2011.