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  • By Bernadette Carreon, Pacific Note

Pacific nations condemn North Korea threats on Guam; leaders agree to deregister N. Korean trade ves

Apia, Samoa- Pacific Islands leaders condemned North Korea’s nuclear threats to the United States territory of Guam and pledged to de-register North Korean fishing and trade vessels they've flagged.

In a communique issued at the end of a week-long gathering in Apia, the 18-member Pacific Islands Forum said that North Korea’s threat to fire missiles on Guam “constitutes a threat to the wider Pacific Islands region.” PIF communiques are issued based on consensus rather than specific votes by members.

Guam, although not a member of the forum, is close to Pacific island nations such as Palau and the Micronesian nations such as the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Palau, the FSM and the RMI are members of the forum.

In the communique, the leaders also agreed on the importance of ensuring the full implementation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions against North Korea.

The communique also indicated the leader's commitment to deregister any North Korean trade or fishing vessels currently flagged on Pacific nations’ shippng registries.

New Zealand and Australia, which are also members of the forum will assist other member states with intelligence gathering to identify illegally flagged North Korea vessels and offered to off-set the financial burden incurred.

Forum Members comprise of Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu French Polynesia and New Caledonia.

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