Minister Mahuta talks Pacific ambitions at the first Korea-Pacific Leaders’ summit

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Nanaia Mahuta met with Korea President Yoon, as well as Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna, during her recent visit to Korea. 

“It was an honour to represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the first Korea – Pacific Leaders’ Summit. We discussed Pacific ambitions under the 2050 Strategy for Blue Pacific Continent, including the need for collective action on climate change and sea-level rise,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

Minister Mahuta also shared these views with the acting-Executive Director Henry Gonzalez, of the Green Climate Fund, which is based in Korea.

When meeting with Korea’s Foreign Minister Park, discussions included the importance of close cooperation with Members of the Pacific Islands Forum to address climate change and economic development challenges in the region. 

“It was a pleasure to meet my counterpart Minister Park Jin and discuss our commitment to and support for the international rules-based order, democratic norms and our shared values,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

Ministers discussed the long-standing bilateral relationship stretching back to the Korean War and highlighted the celebration of 60 years of diplomatic relations celebrated in 2022. 

Ministers noted the security threat posed by the DPRK’s (North Korea) constant provocations to Korea and the wider region. Minister Park acknowledged Aotearoa New Zealand’s support for the United Nations Command and ongoing commitment to enforcing sanctions against the DPRK.

“It was moving to visit the UN Cemetery in Busan and then later to meet our NZDF troops stationed at the Demilitarized Zone. Yesterday morning’s launch by North Korea, was a stark reminder of the security challenges on the Korean Peninsula.

“Aotearoa New Zealand condemns North Korea’s escalation of tensions, and our solidarity is with the people and government of South Korea and Japan at this time.

“These past and contemporary military areas were a poignant reminder to me of the security challenges on the Korean Peninsula,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

Minister Mahuta also hosted a business-networking event where she shared New Zealand’s commitment to continuing our close trade and economic relationship with Korea.

“Our two-way trade has more than doubled since the signing of the Korea-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement in 2015, from $4 billion in 2015 to $8.2 billion in the year ending 2022.

The fast-paced three-day programme saw Minister Mahuta spend time in the capital, Seoul,  as well as the second largest city, Busan, on the south coast of the Korean Peninsula, and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the northern border.

“I want to acknowledge Korea’s manaakitanga and hospitality in hosting Pacific Islands Forum Members at this inaugural Summit,” Nanaia Mahuta said.