Samoan diplomat addresses security summit

By Alexander Rheeney 21 November 2023, 9:00AM

The 5th annual Asia Pacific Security Innovation (APSI) summit got underway in Wellington, New Zealand on Monday with Samoa's top diplomat giving the opening remarks.

The summit was convened in the Aotearoa capital for the first time with a stellar cast of intentional dignitaries and experts attending the event. Coming on the back of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in the Cook and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, diplomats from Timor Leste, Samoa and Papua New Guinea (PNG) joined discussions on issues affecting the region including the growing geopolitical competition between China and the United States.

Samoa's High Commissioner to New Zealand, Afamasaga Fa'amatalaupu Toleafoa gave the opening remarks at the summit. 

The Tibetan government in exile has also sent a delegation to the event following the first-ever visit to New Zealand by their President Penpa Tsering earlier this year to highlight their concerns over the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Tibetan Minister Nolzin Dolma had been meeting with Australian MPs to encourage them to take a stronger stand against China in the fight against human rights abuses in her nation.

Turkish Ambassador Omur Unsayg gave an address as tensions rose in the Middle East between the United States and Iran following the war that broke out last month between Israel and the Gaza-based terrorist group Hamas.

The conference concluded with the Strategic Discussion Forum Monday evening which featured retired NATO commander Major General Gert-Johannes Hagemann and Anthony Grasso, who is now based in New Zealand but served with the Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) one of the United Kingdom’s leading security agencies.

Discussions in the first part of the summit in the morning looked at the "political and strategic prospects in the Indo-Pacific region. Discussions revolved around the factors that shaped the region's "political and strategic prospects" as well as the key drivers behind China's "growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region".

APSI is one of New Zealand’s leading political think tanks with representatives in 36 countries and was set up by Professor Anita Abbott with the goal of encouraging strategic partnerships and alliances to address global problems.

By Alexander Rheeney 21 November 2023, 9:00AM
Samoa Observer

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