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At an upcoming summit meeting, Japan will take steps to beef up collaboration with Pacific island nations in an effort to promote the free and open Indo-Pacific strategy advocated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
At the eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting, or PALM 8, to be held May 18-19 in the city of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, Tokyo also hopes to confirm with the island nations the policy of keeping maximum pressure on North Korea to realize denuclearization, sources said.
In recent years, China has been trying to boost its presence in the island countries by increasing infrastructure and other aid. With the Chinese moves in mind, the Japanese government is considering helping the island countries improve their abilities to uphold maritime law, the sources said.
Over North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs, Japan is increasingly concerned about the possibility of a reconciliatory mood spreading in the international community following a landmark summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in late April.
At the forthcoming summit, Japan will stress the importance of continuing to apply maximum pressure on North Korea and ask for the island nations’ cooperation in blocking the country’s attempts to escape economic sanctions imposed under U.N. Security Council resolutions, such as ship-to-ship transfers of banned goods, the sources said.
The island nations summit, launched in 1997, is held every three years.
The 2018 meeting will be joined by 17 countries — Japan, Australia, New Zealand and 14 island nations. The 14 countries are the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The previous meeting in 2015 was also held in Iwaki. By holding the summit in Fukushima again, Japan hopes to demonstrate to the world progress in the reconstruction of the prefecture, one of the areas hit hardest by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami, a senior Foreign Ministry official said.
The prefecture is also home to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, where an unprecedented triple meltdown occurred due to damage from the natural disaster.\
SOURCE: JIJI PRESS/ PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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