Five Pacific leaders “strongly encouraged” the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), an intergovernmental organization composed of 18 countries across the Pacific, to be “respectful and fair” in the conduct of activities to be participated by disputing entities, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China – Taiwan in the future.
In the joint communique for the 19th Micronesia Presidents’ Summit (MPS) signed by the nation leaders of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), Nauru, and Kiribati, the five countries called for the PIF to reflect the hospitality of the Pacific in making decisions surrounding the issue.
Some member states of the PIF either has or lack diplomatic relationships with either China or Taiwan. The MPS in itself has majority of its member countries recognizing the sovereignty of Taiwan except for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) who is an ally of PRC.
The leaders also recommended that post forum dialogues with PIF’s partners should be held in the same venue of the forum.
When asked by the media whether the call was an offshoot of the recent news that Beijing is intensifying its lobbying in the Pacific by trying to convince the PIF to accept the One-China policy, MPS Chair, Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr., answered that this is about a call to “respect the sovereignty and the choices of countries to formalize their relationships with other countries.”
“It was a clear request from the five entities to the Pacific Island Forum and the Secretariat that in the years ahead when we do host or attend this forum, everything is respected and everything is fair and everything is offered in the same basis regarding those of us who happen to be friends with Taiwan and those of us who happened to be friends with China,” Remengesau said during the press conference on February 27 at the Presidential Satellite Office in Meyuns.
“We don’t want the forum to be involved in unequal or unfairness [conduct],” Remengesau said, explaining prior to this that the One China Policy is not for other nations to make but for Beijing and Taipei to resolve.
The 19th MPS had just concluded on February 22 in Palau where leaders of the five Micronesian countries gathered to talk about pressing issues in the region. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)