Foreign relations of Samoa
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politics and government of
The Samoan Government is generally conservative and pro-Western, with a strong interest in regional political and economic issues. Samoa participated in a first round of negotiations with its Pacific Island neighbors for a regional trade agreement in August 2000. In January 2009, Samoa opened embassies in China and Japan.
People's Republic of China
The Independent State of Samoa and the People's Republic of China (PRC) established official diplomatic relations in 1976. The two countries currently maintain cordial relations; China provides economic aid to Samoa.
Samoa participated in the first Cuba-Pacific Islands ministerial meeting in Havana in September 2008, aimed at "strengthening cooperation" between Cuba and Samoa, notably in coping with the impact of climate change.
The Samoan Government was an outspoken critic of the French decision to resume nuclear weapons testing in the South Pacific Ocean in 1995. An indefinite ban was placed on visits to Samoa by French warships and aircraft. Large-scale street demonstrations were held in Apia. The French tests concluded in early 1996.
Diplomatic relations between Japan and Samoa were established in 1973. Ministerial level visits are frequent between the two countries. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko made a state visit to Samoa in 2003 when the Emperor was still Crown Prince. Japan opened an embassy in Apia on 1 January 2013.
At independence in 1962, Samoa signed a Treaty of Friendship with New Zealand. This treaty confirms the special relationship between the two countries and provides a framework for their interaction. Under the terms of the treaty, Samoa can request that New Zealand act as a channel of communication to governments and international organizations outside the immediate area of the Pacific islands. Samoa can also request defense assistance which New Zealand is required to consider, as Samoa does not maintain a formal military. Overall, Samoa has strong links with New Zealand, where many Samoans now live and many others were educated. New Zealand is the closest stopping ground for travel to Samoa.
The two countries share cordial relations. Since 1967, the United States has supported a substantial Peace Corps program in Samoa. Over 1,700 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Samoa over that time, with 51 Volunteers currently in-country. Peace Corps programs emphasize village-based development and capacity building. Other forms of U.S. assistance to Samoa are limited. The U.S. Embassy, staffed by a single officer, is the smallest Embassy in Samoa and one of the few one-officer U.S. Embassies in the world.
Samoa and the Commonwealth of Nations
Western Samoa became independent on 1 January 1962, but did not formally join the Commonwealth of Nations until 1970. Between 1962 and 1970, Western Samoa was treated as though it was a Commonwealth member state. Since 2007, Samoa has been classed as a Commonwealth republic.
International organization participation
ACP, AsDB, C, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), IOC, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, SOPAC, SPREP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO.
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has pushed through a variety of legislation to increase links between Samoa and the Pacific regional powers of Australia and New Zealand. Under his leadership the country switched to driving on the left, decided to shift westwards across the international date line and adopted daylight saving time, and proposed the introduction of a common Pacific currency.
In late 2011, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi initiated a meeting of Polynesian leaders which led, in November, to the formal launching of the Polynesian Leaders Group, a regional grouping intended to cooperate on a variety of issues including culture and language, education, responses to climate change, and trade and investment. The Group was in part a response to the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
- "Samoa adds two diplomatic missions in Asia". Radio New Zealand International. 13 January 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
- "Botswana establishes relations with Samoa, Guinea Bissau" 30 March 2010 Link retrieved 1 April 2010
- PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- "Samoa to establish diplomatic offices in China, Japan", Xinhua, 23 June 2006
- "Cuban Foreign Minister Opens Cuba-Pacific Islands Meeting", Cuban News Agency, 16 September 2008
- "Pacific and Cuba meet to discuss co-operation". Radio New Zealand International. 17 September 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
- "Samoa recognises Kosovo independence: Pristina", Agence France-Presse, 16 September 2008
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan
- Embassy of Japan in New Zealand web site
- McLean, Tamara (29 June 2011). "Samoa's dateline jump passes into law". Herald Sun. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
- "NZ may be invited to join proposed ‘Polynesian Triangle’ ginger group", Pacific Scoop, 19 September 2011
- "New Polynesian Leaders Group formed in Samoa", Radio New Zealand International, 18 November 2011
- "American Samoa joins Polynesian Leaders Group, MOU signed", Savali, 19 November 2011