PLN Australia attended the Lowy Institute last Thursday night to listen to the Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi talk all things Pacific.
Sailele delivered a fiery speech that covered topics as wide reaching as Israeli water irrigation technology, effective responses to climate change, and the need to rectify the “strategic neglect” of the Pacific’s longstanding partners.
During the hour-long Pacific tell-all, PM Sailele emphasised that even though the Pacific Islands are small dots on a map, they are in fact positioned in one of the most hotly contested and valuable geostrategic locales on the planet.
Importantly, the PM discussed the relationship between climate change and maintaining peace in the region, urging allies to assist as much as possible in combating climate change for the benefit of keeping trade lines open. The PM reminded the world that while the Pacific Islands are little countries, they are the custodians of 20 per cent of the world’s oceans and intend to “ensure freedom of navigation”, and that the skies remain “open blue skies”, and that “access to precious assets” such as fisheries remain viable for future generations.
The PM said the Pacific is resolute in their assertion of sovereignty and that their sovereignty is defined by “a Blue Pacific Identity” – reiterating that the Pacific Islands is a peaceful-welcoming-water-bound continent.
PM Sailele spoke of the importance of strengthening the collective voice of Pacific Island countries and noted that PACER and PICTA Plus are important vehicles to facilitate improved trade and protections against economic and environmental devastation.
PM Sailele also reflected on the close relationship between Australia and Samoa, and that it has been great to see Australia’s recommitment to the Pacific through Australia’s leaders such as Julie Bishop and its diplomatic corps.
The PM closed his keynote reminding the audience, media and world leaders that Pacific Island nations are not naïve in the way they deal with emerging partners in the Pacific, such as China. Reemphasising the importance of diligent fiscal management when working with any lender and stalwartly professing that fear of emerging partners is likely misplaced. The future relies on all partners in the Pacific working with each other in good faith for the benefit of the region and the world as a whole.
With renewed focus on the Pacific, businesses looking to connect with global supply chains could use the Pacific Islands as a stepping stone towards wider expansion. For more information on how to begin trading in the Pacific Islands contact us.