Taiwan-Pacific Allies Summit to highlight regional issues
By Michelle Hsu, Special to the China Post
October 10, 2007, 12:00 am TWN
Minister of Foreign Affairs James C.F. Huang and several other ministerial officials will accompany President Chen Shui-bian to attend the Second Taiwan-Pacific Allies Summit slated for October 12-14 in Majuro, capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI).
For Taiwan, the South Pacific is an important region where it has six diplomatic allies. Attending the summit meeting will be the national leader of each of these countries, except for Kiribati, which will be represented by its vice president Teima Onorio. The other five participating national leaders are Marshall Islands President Kessai Hesa Note, Nauru President Ludwig Scotty, Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Tuvalu Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
he summit is a critical event for Taiwan to foster its cooperation with these oceanic countries possessed of abundant natural marine resources,?said Huang. It the second year for these national leaders to convene the annual summit meeting, following the success of the one held in Palau last year, during which the Palau Declaration was signed by the participating countries as a sound foundation for regional cooperation.
During this year meeting, Huang said, e will review how the Palau Declaration has been implemented over the past year and discuss how to strengthen cross-border collaboration for regional development in the future.?
The summit will begin with statements by the participating national leaders during an opening ceremony on the afternoon of Oct. 12, followed by a report by Foreign Minister Huang on the progress of regional development, which has been bolstered by closer cooperation among the summit member countries. In a later session, Minister of the Department of Health (DOH) Hou Sheng-mou and Minister of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Winston Dang, two other ministerial delegation members, will give reports on the issues of health and environmental protection, respectively.
On Oct. 13, several bilateral meetings will be arranged for the Taiwan delegation to talk with representatives of individual countries separately for further discussions on bilateral cooperation and interactions.
asically, the second summit will follow the directions set by the first one last year, and ally countries will continue to implement the goals declared in the Palau Declaration for cooperation in eight areas and promotion of closer interactions among ally countries,?Deputy President Secretary-General Chen Chi-mai said in a pre-departure press conference on Oct. 8. Taiwan delegation left for the Marshall Islands on Oct. 9 and will fly back after three days there.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), the host country for this year, is a Micronesian island nation in the western Pacific, north of fellow Summit member Kiribati, south of the U.S. territory of Wake Island, and about halfway between Hawaii and Papua New Guinea. The island nation has a total area of 181 square kilometers, and a population of 61,782 people (annual growth rate: 2.2%). Its national language is Marshallese, but English is widely spoken as a second language.