TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Samoan counterpart Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi confirmed Tuesday they will work together toward the success of a two-day summit they are scheduled to chair later this week involving Pacific island nations.
In a joint press conference after their talks at the prime minister’s office, Abe pledged to offer 200 million yen ($1.82 million) in grant aid to provide medical equipment and other items to contribute to the development of Samoa.
On the security front, the two prime ministers shared the need for implementing U.N. Security Council resolutions against North Korea to realize the denuclearization of the country, Abe said.
In the press conference, Tuilaepa expressed gratitude for being awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by Japanese Emperor Akihito for promoting bilateral ties.
Samoa, along with Japan, will co-chair the eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting set for Friday and Saturday in Iwaki in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Fukushima. The meeting brings together leaders and representatives of 14 Pacific island nations, Australia and New Zealand as well as French Polynesia and New Caledonia, which both belong to France.
The other participating Pacific island countries are the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
During the two-day summit, Abe is expected to express readiness to provide support to enhance the island nations’ maritime security capability so they can better crack down on illicit fishery operations, government sources said.
Tokyo has hosted the regional summit with the Pacific island nations once every three years since 1997.