President Mori Meets Ambassador-Designate Robert Kawaii of New Zealand
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): June 18, 2010 - On the morning of June 14, 2010, President Mori met with Ambassador-designate Robert Kaiwai of New Zealand to officially receive Kaiwai's letters of credence.
A letter of credence is an official letter sent by one head of state to another head of state that formally grants diplomatic accreditation to a named individual to be their ambassador in the country of the head of state receiving the letter.
The ceremony was attended by Ambassadors Shoji Sato of Japan, Weidong Zhang of the People's Republic of China, Susan Cox of Australia, and William Douglass, Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy, as well as members of the Cabinet.
"New Zealand's relationship with FSM has always been strong," said Kaiwai, "however, New Zealand would like to do more, as both countries face common issues such as climate change and the need to develop sustainable fisheries."
Mori confirmed that FSM and New Zealand, through the Pacific Islands Forum, have worked side by side on such regional issues and confirmed that climate change has become "the number one security threat to the survival of small island states." He said that FSM and New Zealand have "to continue to work in solidarity and in cooperation to ensure the resiliency and adaptability of our islands and peoples."
Mori also expressed gratitude and appreciation for New Zealand's assistance in human resource development, maritime aerial surveillance and community development in FSM.
Following the ceremonial, Mori and Kaiwai held a short private meeting. The President focused on three main topics: he specifically requested assistance from New Zealand to support educational reform in FSM, he emphasized the need for the two countries to cooperate in order to increase fishing surveillance in the southern region of FSM, and he asked Kaiwai to spotlight any practical solutions instituted in Kiribati as a result of the effects of climate change.
Kaiwai explained that the Kiribati population has no desire to re-locate, a measure under consideration by the Kiribati government to address sea level rise; he states that Kiribati has more pressing issues than sea level rise, such as health and education. To address those specific concerns, Kaiwai explained that the New Zealand government is analyzing the possibility of building sub-divisions in the northern region of the island to relieve the densely populated south end of the island. Mori explained that FSM was watching closely what was being done in Kiribati, to learn from their experience in handling sea level rise, should such measures be needed in FSM in the future. Both agreed that any population re-location should be seen as a last resort.
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