Pacific Islands to push climate change in South Korea summit
Otago, NEW ZEALAND — Pacific Island leaders will meet South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul on Monday, their third summit in a week with a large economy as the region seeks stronger action on climate change as it becomes a focus of geopolitical power attention.
The Pacific Islands span 40 million square kilometres of ocean between the United States and Asia, and Western allies have moved to boost their engagement amid concerns over China's security ambitions for the strategic waters and economic leverage among the small island states.
The island states, which are seeking greater funding for climate change mitigation, have taken a collective approach to dealing with major powers.
The back-to-back meetings with major economies were a "massive boost for recognition of our priorities", said Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna in a statement.
“Forum Leaders see this as vital to addressing the challenges facing the Blue Planet, to planning and owning our development agenda, and to deepened climate resilience,” Puna said.
In Seoul, climate change, investment and fisheries are expected to feature in talks.
The Pacific Islands has the world's largest tuna fishery, where South Korea's long-distance fleet has been fishing since 1958, catching 255,226 tonnes in 2021 under licence schemes controlled by the forum members.
France, which has Pacific overseas territories, will also join the Seoul meeting.