BY MAVIS NISHIMURA PODOKOLO
THE eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting, PALM8, starts today at the Iwaki City, Fukusima Prefecture, in Japan.
PALM8 takes place every three years where leaders and representatives of Pacific Islands countries (PICs) and regions are invited to Japan to strengthen the traditional partnership of Japan and the PICs and the region through promotion of cooperation regarding various issues facing the Pacific island region.
The main objective of the meeting is strengthening of cooperation towards implementation of the “Free and Open Indo Pacific” – strategy through sharing a vision including rule of law at the sea, promoting of marine cooperation including maritime safety and affirming the importance of development of quality infrastructure in accordance with international standard.
As well as supporting self-sufficient and sustainable development of Pacific Islands countries with regards to supporting the sustainable development of Pacific islands countries and regions, including climate change, environment and disaster risk reduction and to support self-sufficient development through promotion of trade, investment and tourism.
Discussion will also focus on revitalising and building partnerships between Japan and Pacific island countries in terms of strengthening of human resource development, building of multi-layered people-to-people exchanges, including exchanges with local governments and strengthening of bonds by revitalising the movement of people and also strengthening of cooperation in the international arena be about affirming cooperation on the issue of North Korea including the United Security Council reform.
Participating countries and regions are Japan (co-chair), Samoa (co-chair), Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and French Polynesia.
Solomon Islands is represented by Prime Minster Rick Houenipwela and his delegation.
The meeting starts today May 18, 2018 and will be concluded tomorrow on May 19. It will be hosted by the Japanese government and chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.
With regards to PALM1, it took place at Tokyo way back in the 1997, PALM2 at Miyazaki, PALM 3 and PALM4 at Okinawa, PALM5 at Hokkaido, PALM6 at Okinawa, PALM7 and PALM8 at Iwaki. All of the meetings took place within Japan.