On October 20, Across the Pacific. Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers met with Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs this week to plan for the 9th Japan Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (PALM) in 2021.
The two-hour long online meeting was Co-Chaired by Mr. Motegi Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, with the Hon. Simon Kofe, Minister of Justice, Communications and Foreign Affairs of Tuvalu.
Timed between PALM Leaders summits, the PALM Ministerial Interim Meeting reviews progress and sets the agenda for upcoming summits.
The PALM is co-chaired by the Prime Minister of Japan and the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and is attended by Forum Leaders. It has been held in Japan every three years since 1997. The last session, PALM 8, was held in Fukushima, Japan from 18 – 19 May 2018.
Here is an overview of this years online meeting.
1. Minister MOTEGI explained that, since the 8th Pacific Leaders Meeting (PALM8), Japan has strengthened its cooperation with Pacific Island countries in order to realise a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”. Minister MOTEGI also provided concrete examples of the progress of Japan’s commitments made at PALM8 and stated that Japan would continue to provide assistance and promote human resource development and people-to-people exchanges based on the needs of Pacific Island countries. Minister MOTEGI made special mention of the fact that Japan had provided medical supplies, equipment and technical support to Pacific Island countries, which have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. In response, the PIF members expressed deep appreciation for Japan’s steady implementation of its commitments and provision of assistance to Pacific Island countries in the areas of the pillars of cooperation expressed in PALM8: free, open and sustainable maritime order, resilient and sustainable development and human resource development, and people-to-people exchange.
3. The Ministers exchanged views on cooperation in international fora, including issues related to North Korea, and shared the intent for continued close coordination between Japan and Pacific Island countries. In connection, Minister MOTEGI sought continued understanding and cooperation for the early resolution of the abductions issue.
4. The Ministers exchanged views on the vision and priorities for PALM9, to be held in 2021, and confirmed continued close cooperation toward the successful meeting. The adopted Chairs’ Summary is attached hereto.
PIF members (Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand).