South Korea hosts summit with Pacific island leaders

STORY: Yoon launched his administration's Indo-Pacific strategy last year, pledging to foster a "free, peaceful and prosperous" region built on a rules-based order, amid concerns over China's security ambitions for the strategic waters and economic leverage among the small island states.

Mark Brown, chair of the 18-member Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, told the summit opening that the challenges facing the region were "vast and complex" and that talks would also cover areas such as disaster risk and resilience, ocean governance and maritime affairs.

South Korea's Indo-Pacific strategy also sees greater scope for trilateral cooperation with the United States and Australia to tackle regional challenges such as supply chains, critical minerals and climate change.