President Panuelo Virtually Receives His Excellency Mike Ketchen, Ambassador of New Zealand to the FSM

PALIKIR, Pohnpei—His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), recently received His Excellency Mike Ketchen, Ambassador of New Zealand to the FSM. Following the virtual Presentation of Credentials Ceremony, President Panuelo and Ambassador Ketchen discussed FSM-NZ relations.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Ketchen described New Zealand’s self-described modest but highly effective development program in the North Pacific, a description that President Panuelo categorically agreed with. The Ambassador discussed areas of ongoing cooperation between the FSM and New Zealand, and areas of proposed future cooperation in the economic and security space. Regarding the latter, the Ambassador noted that New Zealand is committing over one billion US dollars in Climate Change-related cooperation, over half of which is dedicated to the Pacific specifically.

In his remarks, President Panuelo described the FSM’s close relationship with New Zealand, and noted the Nation’s appreciation for New Zealand’s outspoken stance on tackling Climate Change. Additionally, President Panuelo discussed items of mutual import and interest with the Ambassador as they relate to the North Pacific specifically, and the Indo-Pacific at large, including a broader analysis of significant events in the Pacific over the course of 2021.

The meeting ended on a positive note, with President Panuelo describing that New Zealand has a disproportionately positive impact on the World at large, such as through historical accomplishments—New Zealand was the first country in the World where women won the right to vote, thanks to the efforts of Kate Shepard et al., and New Zealand was the first country in the World to split the atom, thanks to the efforts of Lord Rutherford of Nelson et al.—and also through contemporary friendship and cooperation with fellow democracies. 

After President Panuelo virtually received Ambassador Ketchen, the Honorable Kandhi A. Elieisar—Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs—engaged in a virtual dialogue with the Honorable Nanaia Mahuta, Foreign Minister of New Zealand. Secretary Elieisar and Foreign Minister Mahuta’s conversation delved deeper into the analysis of events affecting the Pacific over the course of 2021. As a result of these dialogues, the FSM National Government is hopeful that its relations with New Zealand will continue to be strengthened over the coming months and years.