Suriname foreign minister addresses Korea-Caribbean forum in Seoul
SEOUL - The foreign minister of Suriname, Niermala Badrising, who was the keynote speaker at the sixth high-level forum of the Korea-Caribbean Partnership in Seoul on October 26, held under the theme “Climate Change and Food Security”, told the gathering that climate change has become a major challenge facing small island developing states (SIDS).
“For many of us belonging to the small island developing states (SIDS), it is a question of survival or extinction. For countries with low-lying coastal areas, like my own country Suriname, the effects of climate change, are no longer a distant threat! Climate change has become the main challenge we are facing, and we are aware that our collective actions hereto will decide the fate of future generations,” she said.
In her address to the forum attended by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, Badrising linked the issues of climate change and food security. The consequences of climate change on food production, she said, are of grave concern to small economies like Suriname and Caribbean islands. She called for financial and technological support to affected countries.
“Increased financing and a large replenishment of the Green Climate Fund is required in order to assist small island developing (SIDS) countries and countries with a low-lying coastal area to implement the Paris Agreement,” she added.
She also thanked South Korea for its “pledges and contributions to the Green Climate Fund”.
The forum has established itself as an important mechanism for dialogue on cooperation between Korea and the Caribbean. The sixth meeting served as a good opportunity to expand and deepened bilateral cooperation in infrastructure, e-government, and healthcare, according to a Korea foreign ministry press statement.
Besides the Korean ministry of foreign affairs, the ministry of land, infrastructure and transport, the ministry of security and public administration, and the ministry of health and welfare participated in the forum.
On October 24, the Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Badrising held bilateral discussions. The diplomats exchanged views on South Korea/Suriname bilateral relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
The ministers noted the “steady advances in the friendly and cooperative ties between Korea and Suriname, and they agreed to step up mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, including economy, trade, development, and information and communications technology, as well as further cooperation on global issues”.
Byung-se discussed with Badrising what he termed “provocations, including nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, a grave threat to the Korean Peninsula and beyond”.
Korea again reiterated its call for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Byung-se said that the issue needs strong global cooperation. On that issue, he asked for Suriname’s support and cooperation. Badrising offered her government’s support to South Korea.
South Korea has offered to train Surinamese diplomats and, in addition, has offered to support Suriname’s needs of digitalization and automation of data systems.
Guyana, where CARICOM headquarters are located, did not participate in the forum.
By Ray Chickrie
Photo: Suriname Foreign Minister, Niermala Badrising (L) meets with Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se