Digital Diplomacy as a foreign policy statecraft to achieving regional cooperation and integration in the Polynesian Leaders Group

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Tupou, Olita Ha’ina Mo’uta
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University of Malta; DiploFoundation
Established in 2011, the Polynesian Leaders Groups serves to fulfill a vision of cooperation, strengthening integration on issues pertinent to the region and to the future of the PLG. Its nine – American Samoa, French Polynesia, Niue, Cook Islands, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Tonga and Wallis Futuna, is argued to have strength in numbers, resources and diversity, and a positive addition to the growing regional diplomacies in the South Pacific. The study is an expedition in itself in understanding the relevancy of adopting a new statecraft of diplomacy, such as the use of social media, Information Communications Technologies and the Internet, to advance socio-economic and development interests of the PLG, and their connections with the rest of the world, independently as sovereign states or collectively as a region. Comparative analysis with other examples from other countries on their use of digital diplomacy will seek to build the argument on its novelty, relevancy and contribution to the Pacific Islands, but the PLG must decide whether it wants to pursue prosperity for its members in the Digital age, or be left behind.