21 May 2018

Pacific leaders join call for North Korea's denuclearisation

12:14 pm on 21 May 2018

Pacific Island countries have joined with Japan to call on North Korea to take concrete actions toward denuclearisation.

Japan's Prime Minister Abe speaking at the joint press conference Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa of Samoa wrapping up PALM8.

Japan's Prime Minister Abe speaking at the joint press conference Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa of Samoa wrapping up PALM8. Photo: Twitter/ @motomatano

Japan hosted leaders from 14 Pacific states in a two-day summit at the weekend, the eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM).

In a joint declaration from the Fukushima summit, they urged North Korea to comply with UN sanctions over its nuclear and missile development, and to completely scrap its weapons of mass destruction.

The joint declaration also emphasised the importance of a maritime order based on the rule of law, including freedom of navigation, overflight and other internationally lawful uses of the seas.

It said the Pacific Islands leaders welcomed Japan's "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy" initiative, promoting rule of law and freedom of navigation.

Also supported by India, Australia and the United States, the initiative is seen as an effort to offset China's expansive maritime might.

Among the other items in the declaration arising from the PALM was reiteration of commitment to the implementation of the UN Paris Agreement on responding to climate change.

Japan acknowledged the initiative of the Pacific Islands Forum in endorsing the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific, while the countries agreed on the need to mobilise financial support for climate change action.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency has been granted accreditation by the Green Climate Fund Board.

Furthermore, the Secretariat of the Pacific Environmental Programme has been accredited as a Regional Implementing Entity for the Green Fund and the associated Adaptation Fund.

Japan pledges millions of dollars worth of aid to Tonga and Samoa

Meanwhile, some new aid packages were announced on the sidelines of PALM.

Japan and Tonga have agreed to a project which will see $US20 million granted to the upgrade and rebuild of Tonga's state broadcaster and the implementation of a disaster early warning system.

Deputy Prime Minister Semisi Sika and Public Enterprise Minister Poasi Tei signed on Tonga's behalf.

Japan also granted Samoa a new aid package of $US1.8 million.

Announcing the Samoan aid, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the money would go towards the provision of medical equipment in Samoa among other areas.

His Samoan counterpart Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi co-chaired PALM and has been conferred the "Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun" by Japan.

This is in recognition to his long contribution to strengthening the relationship between Japan and Samoa, as well as between Japan and Pacific Island countries.