Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi will co-chair the 8th Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (P.A.L.M.) in Iwaki City, Fukushima, Japan, starting today.
The two-day event presents leaders and representatives of Pacific Island countries an opportunity to meet in Japan every three years to talk about issues pertinent to them.
The dialogue also aims to strengthen the traditional partnership between Japan and the Pacific Islands through promotion of cooperation regarding various issues facing the Pacific Island region, such as the climate change and the environment.
There are 19 different countries participating, which include new members New Caledonia and French Polynesia.
The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzō Abe, acknowledged Prime Minister Tuilaepa in a joint press statement for not missing any of the P.A.L.M.
“It is indeed a great pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Tuilaepa from the Independent State of Samoa to Japan. It is a great pleasure that I welcome him as the co-chair of the 8th Pacific Island Leader Meeting,” Mr. Abe said.
“Prime Minister Tuilaepa is the only person among the participating government leaders who has attended all the P.A.L.M. from P.A.L.M. 1 back in 1997 to P.A.L.M. 8 that will be held soon.”
“From the 18th of this month, the P.A.L.M. 8 will be held in the Iwaki City Fukushima. In the meeting we had prior to this event, we agreed to closely cooperate with Prime Minister Tuilaepa for the success of the summit meeting.
“I would like to go forward hand in hand with Prime Minister Tuilaepa so that we can enhance the friendship and the cooperative relationship of Japan and Samoa.”
Mr. Abe said one of the important issues that will be discussed in the meeting is North Korea.
“So it is very important that we must ensure the concrete action to bring about the settlement of the North Korea issue, including the ship to ship transfer of goods as well as the abduction issue. We have come to an agreement that we will cooperate between the two countries on the North Korea issue,” he said.
There are four objectives of the P.A.L.M. this year. The first is strengthening of cooperation toward implementation of the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” such as sharing a vision including the rule of law at sea, promotion of maritime cooperation, including maritime safety.
Secondly, to support the self-sufficient and sustainable development of Pacific Island countries, including climate change, environment and disaster risk reduction.
Thirdly, revitalising and building of multi-layered partnership between Japan and Pacific Island countries. Fourthly, is strengthening of cooperation in the international arena such as affirming cooperation on the issue of North Korea.
According to Tuilaepa, his week-long visit will provide an opportunity to dialogue and discuss areas of mutual interest with Prime Minister Abe.
“Samoa has a long standing durable relationship with Japan spanning more than four decades. We do anticipate the great deepening partnership in the years ahead.
“We also discussed the importance of the collaboration in the areas of climate change, biodiversity fisheries, ocean management and others.
“I also would like to thank the people of Japan for their continued assistance to Samoa in the key sectors that addresses the pillars of sustainable development.”