Japan, Pacific islands stress importance of rules-based intl. order

Delegates from the governments of Japan and a host of Pacific islands have renewed their commitment to maintaining the rules-based international order.

Foreign ministers and other senior diplomats sat down on Monday in Fiji. The talks come ahead of the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting to be held in Tokyo in July.

Japan invites 18 South Pacific leaders to the summit once every three years.

Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko said at the start of the session that regional unity is needed more than ever.

She also said Japan wants to help realize a more resilient and sustainable Pacific region.

In a chairperson's statement released after the talks, the participants agreed to jointly tackle issues such as climate change.

They also reaffirmed the importance of maintaining the rules-based international order, and opposing any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force or coercion.

China has recently been exercising more influence over the South Pacific through massive infrastructure projects and economic aid.