(LEAD) S. Korean, Pacific islands FMs discuss climate, maritime cooperation in Busan
(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in paras 8-9)
By Yi Wonju
BUSAN, Oct. 26 (Yonhap) -- The top diplomats of South Korea and 14 Pacific Island Countries (PICs) held talks Wednesday in the southern port of Busan to discuss ways to bolster cooperation in diverse regional issues, including climate change.
South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin also sought support for South Korea's bid to host the 2030 World Expo in Busan as he welcomed the participants at the 5th Korea-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers' Meeting.
"No other country has chosen climate change as the theme or sub-theme of the World Expo," Park said in his opening remarks. "The World Expo will significantly benefit the region if it were to be held in Busan as climate change is the single greatest threat to the Pacific island countries."
Under the theme of "Vision for the Resilient Blue Pacific," the top diplomats agreed to expand partnerships on climate change, maritime and other issues of regional concern.
"(South) Korea is committed to strengthening partnerships with the Pacific island countries for the regional sustainable development and enhanced resilience," Park said.
He added that South Korea will also expand development aid for the Pacific island nations to help them cope with climate crisis.
"Under the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, we will increase Official Development Assistance (ODA) that effectively accommodates the demands of the Pacific countries," he said.
Park voiced concerns over North Korea's escalation of military threats, pointing out that it has launched "a record number" of missiles this year and "stands on the verge" of a seventh nuclear test.
"Now, more than ever, a resolute and united response by the international community is needed," he said. "Let me express my sincere appreciation for the steadfast support by Pacific Island countries for achieving the complete denuclearization of North Korea."
Participating in the meeting were foreign ministers from 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.
Since 2011, South Korea and the 14 Pacific island nations have held talks of foreign ministers. South Korea plans to host its first-ever summit meeting with the PICs next year.
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