Session 1: PALM Process and Partnership between Japan and Pacific Island Countries
It is my honour and privilege to be addressing this auspicious and momentous occasion here today;
I wish to also at the outset convey the profound gratitude of my delegation to the Government of Japan, the Governor and people of Fukushima Prefecture, and the Mayor and people of Iwaki-city for the warm and generous hospitality accorded since our arrival.
We wish to also commend the Government of Japan for excellent arrangements put in place for the Eighth Japan-Pacific Islands Leaders’ Meeting or PALM 8.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;
The Japan-Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) partnership is one of the most mature and enduring in the region, and which is underpinned by long-established historical, economic, trade and diplomatic links.
The Vanuatu Government continues to place immense value on the PALM process, and the relationship which has been built over the past 20 years with the PIF and its membership. Albeit separate, these are processes which should feed into and complement each other. This includes the supporting role of the PIF Secretariat of the PALM process.
This is also a relationship which seeks to build on the economic resilience of Forum Island Countries through addressing adverse effects of climate change inter alia assistance in alleviating environmental degradation, sustainable development and disaster risk reduction initiatives.
Vanuatu like other PIF-member countries continues to enjoy an amicable and mutually beneficial relationship with Japan, as well as other countries that are also members of the PIF’s Post-Forum Dialogue Partners platform.
It is paramount therefore that the PALM process continues to remain sensitized to issues which may otherwise serve to undermine existing processes, as well as elements of bilateral relations of PIF members.
Further to this, Vanuatu commends the Government of Japan for its decision to invite French Polynesia and New Caledonia, as the PIF’s newest members to attend and participate in PALM 8. It is our view that participation by these two countries will not only aide their integration efforts, but also ensures that they find their own way as global citizens.
In closing, the Vanuatu Government remains committed to principles promoted by the PIF, and looks forward to positive outcomes at PALM8 and ongoing constructive engagement with Japan.