Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann, and High Commissioner to Fiji, Jim Armistead with Australia's Foreign Minister, Penny Wong at the Cook Islands High Commission in Suva this week. MFAI / 23091531.
An increase in visitor arrivals from Australia and supported direct flights between Sydney and Rarotonga were among the key discussions held between Prime Minister Mark Brown and Australia’s Foreign Minister Senator Penny Wong.
Wong and Brown have met ahead of the Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting chaired by
Brown in Suva, Fiji.
this, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration. was
maritime security and surveillance cooperation, centred on the Te
Kukupa II, Cook Islands Guardian Class patrol boat.
one-year-old patrol boat, set sail from Rarotonga to Cairns, Australia late
last month for repairs and maintenance.
Kukupa II suffered a number of defects since being gifted to the Cook Islands
by the Australian Government in July 2022.
The vessel's most recent issue was a crankshaft fault, discovered when it returned from a regional fisheries surveillance operation with Tui Moana.
while PM Brown and Wong were at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) Leaders’ Summit in Jakarta, they also discussed several regional issues
supporting ASEAN-Pacific Islands Forum co-operation, opportunities for
bilateral and regional co-operation with Indonesia, finalisation of the 2050
Strategy for the Blue Pacific Implementation Plan, Forum Dialogue Partner and
Engagement Mechanisms, regional security issues and the Cook Islands proposal
for Pacific Partnerships for Prosperity (PPfP).
the nine initiatives the Cook Islands is proposing as PPfP, Foreign Minister
Wong confirmed Australia had already committed funding support towards
preparatory work relating to the Pacific Resilience Facility and support to the
Pacific Leaders' Gender Equality Declaration,” Brown said.
relation to two other PPfP proposed initiatives, Brown and Wong also agreed
there was a need to support the operationalisation of the Consultative
Committee provided by the Rarotonga Treaty to support and ensure a nuclear-free
Pacific, and agreed there was value in bringing together existing partners in a
coordinated manner to mobilise additional resources to assist Pacific Islands countries
and territories, to enhance national capabilities to protect against
Brown also met Samoa
Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataʻafa.
They also discussed flights and shipping connectivity,
labour mobility, tourism, the Rarotonga Treaty and the Pacific Resilience
According to MFAI, both governments have been actively
pursuing expanded flight connectivity and greater uplift, including with Fiji
The two leaders also had an exchange on their respective leader
summit preparations, with the Cook Islands hosting the Pacific Islands Forum
Leaders Meeting in November, and Samoa preparing to host the signing of the
Samoa Agreement shortly after, as well as the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting in 2024.