Yoon to host inaugural Korea-Pacific Islands Summit next week
By Lee Haye-ah
SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk Yeol will host the first summit between South Korea and Pacific island nations in Seoul next week, his office said Thursday.
The summit will be held Monday and Tuesday under the theme "Navigating towards Co-Prosperity: Strengthening Cooperation with the Blue Pacific," with the participation of leaders and senior officials from all 18 members of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), an intergovernmental body aimed at enhancing cooperation among island countries in the region.
The 18 are 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, the Cook Islands, Australia, New Zealand, French Polynesia and New Caledonia.
As of Thursday, all but Australia, New Zealand, Nauru, the Federated States of Micronesia and Samoa had confirmed the attendance of their leaders, according to Yoon's office. PIF Secretary-General Henry Puna will also join the summit.
The gathering will be the first multilateral summit to be hosted by South Korea since the launch of the Yoon administration in May last year.
On the first day, the leaders will hold two sessions.
The first session will be led by Yoon and discuss current and future cooperation between South Korea and Pacific island nations.
The second session will be led by the Cook Islands, the PIF chair, and discuss regional issues as well as cooperation on the international stage, including cooperation related to South Korea's bid to host the 2030 World Expo in the southeastern city of Busan.
Ahead of the summit, Yoon will hold separate bilateral summits with each of the visiting leaders on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.
Following the group summit, Yoon and first lady Kim Keon Hee will host an official dinner for the leaders on Monday evening.
On Tuesday, the leaders will travel to Busan to visit the site to be used as the venue of the 2030 World Expo.
A separate program will be held for leaders' spouses.
The presidential office said the upcoming summit will mark the full implementation of the Yoon administration's Indo-Pacific Strategy unveiled last year.
"Through the Indo-Pacific Strategy, our government stated its plans to recognize the climate crisis faced by Pacific island nations as a joint task of the international community requiring the joint response of humanity, and to expand its engagement with and contributions to Pacific island nations," presidential spokesperson Lee Do-woon said.
"By expressing our commitment to actively contributing to Pacific island nations at this summit, it will be an opportunity to expand our diplomatic horizon to the Pacific Ocean and to strengthen our responsible and contributory diplomacy," he said.
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