Session 2: Free and Open Maritime Order based on the Rule of Law and Sustainable Oceans
Thank you, Prime Minister and can I thank you and Mrs Abe for your very warm welcome. Can I join other delegations in congratulating you and the co-chair Prime Minister Tuilaepa on this important event. I would also like to thank the Japanese Government, the Prefecture of Fukushima and the people of Iwaki for your generous hospitality and can I particularly thank the children and students of Iwaki for the warmth of their welcome.
The Pacific Ocean is the very essence of our region’s identity and it is vital to our collective prosperity and security.
Australia’s engagement in the Pacific is underpinned by a firm commitment to support an open, inclusive and rules-based regional order.
An order in which the rights of freedom of navigation and overflight are upheld and the rights of small states are protected.
An order in which open markets facilitate flows of goods, services, capital and ideas and economic integration is inclusive of, and open to, the region’s economies.
An order in which countries foster habits of dialogue and cooperation and resolve disputes peacefully in accordance with international law and without the threat or use of force or coercion.
We see these principles as central to our collective interest in a peaceful, stable and prosperous Pacific Ocean region, which we in the Pacific Islands Forum have articulated in our ‘Blue Pacific’ identity and which Japan has committed itself to in its ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’.
No region has a greater need to know what is going on in its maritime zone than in the Pacific with its vast oceanscape and large ocean states.
Australia is committed to working with our Pacific partners to support them in asserting and protecting their sovereignty and to address shared maritime challenges which demand a coordinated response, including illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, drugs and arms trafficking, people smuggling, marine spills and pollution, and major disease outbreaks.
We support efforts underway in the region to strengthen coordination on information sharing and analysis.
And as set out in our Foreign Policy White Paper, we will commission a feasibility study on the technical requirements for increased information sharing.
Our Pacific Maritime Security Program builds on the success of the 30-year strong Pacific Patrol Boat Program and is an important investment in our region’s security.
We welcome Japan’s interest in contributing to maritime security and safety in the Pacific.
Japan can share valuable lessons and expertise to reinforce the existing efforts underway among and through the Pacific Islands Forum and regional organisations to secure our great ocean region.
Session 3: Strengthening the Basis for Self-Sustained and Sustainable Development
Thank you Prime Minister.
As has been noted, our region is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather and natural disasters, which exacerbate existing development challenges and constrain economic growth.
No country is immune from disaster, but no country is alone in the response.
Australia will always stand by our Pacific neighbours in their time of need.
We are proud to respond quickly and effectively, delivering humanitarian assistance to support Forum Island Countries in their response to disasters, working in close coordination with others including Japan.
In the year 2018-19, Australia will make our highest ever development assistance contribution to the Pacific, including humanitarian response and work on climate resilience.
Australia was very pleased to join other Pacific Islands Forum Members in endorsing the proposal for a Pacific Resilience Facility at the recent Forum Economic Ministers Meeting in Palau.
This Facility has the potential to streamline and improve coordination of resilience finance and critically, increase the Pacific’s access to finance.
Given Japan’s long commitment to help build a more resilient Pacific, I would encourage Japan to join us all as the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat further develops this important proposal.
Working Lunch Item 2: Cooperation in the International Arena
Thank you Mr. President, Australia is committed to defending and upholding the international rules-based order.
We welcome Japan’s interest in supporting Pacific Island Countries with the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions.
Australia commits to coordinating with Japan in this important area.
I would also like to acknowledge and commend Japan’s strong lead alongside the US in the international maximum pressure campaign against North Korea.
I note that Australia has also been an active contributor to the maximum pressure campaign.
It is essential that North Korea now takes concrete and verifiable steps to comply with UN Security resolutions that ban its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Australia will continue to work closely with our partners in the region to ensure the full implementation and enforcement of the Security Council resolutions.
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