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President Yoon to host inaugural Korea-Pacific Islands Summit in May

President Yoon Suk Yeol will host a summit with leaders from Pacific island nations in May to discuss ways to expand cooperation between Korea and the region, his office said Tuesday.

The inaugural Korea-Pacific Islands Summit will be held in Seoul from 29-30 May with the participation of leaders from all 18 members of the Pacific Islands Forum, an intergovernmental body aimed at enhancing cooperation among island countries in the region.

The 18 are Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Tonga, Palau, Niue, Nauru, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Cook Islands, Australia, New Zealand, French Polynesia and New Caledonia.

The gathering will be the first multilateral summit to be hosted by Korea since the launch of the Yoon administration last May.

On the first day, the leaders will hold the summit and attend an official dinner hosted by Yoon and first lady Kim Keon Hee.

On the second day, they will travel to the southeastern city of Busan to participate in various side events.

Separately, the first lady will host programmes for leaders' spouses.

“The upcoming summit will signal the start of the full-scale implementation of our government's Indo-Pacific Strategy by region, by upgrading to the highest level our consultation mechanism with Pacific island nations, whose strategic importance is growing, and by expanding cooperation based on actual demand from the Pacific island states,” the presidential office said.

“We also expect it to elevate our diplomatic status as we contribute to resolving the issues faced by Pacific island nations, such as climate change, disaster response and regional development, and pursue joint prosperity, and serve as an opportunity to strengthen the international community's support for our bid to host the 2030 World Expo in Busan,” it added.

Photo file President Yoon Suk Yeol