By Wendy Osher
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa travels to O’ahu this week to attend a Sister City Conference in Honolulu. The conference, Arakawa said, is a preliminary summit to the APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Conference) happening in Hawai’i in November.
As part of the conference activities, Mayor Arakawa will meet with a contingent from Korea, and bring them back to Maui to facilitate better business partnerships.
In addition to being considered for Free Trade Agreements, Korea is on the Visa Waiver program, and has an economy that is stronger than the United States, according to Arakawa.
“The salaries there are equivalent or maybe even better than those that we have here, so they have expendable income. They travel a lot; they have a lot of investments; and they’d be a good partner for us,” said Mayor Arakawa.
Other counties within the state will also be charged with creating sister city relationships of their own.
Maui County is also working with China as the APEC conference nears. Delegations from the country will be visiting both I’ao and Sun Yat Sen Park on the Valley Isle where improvements are being made.
“A lot of people don’t realize that Sun Yat Sen and the motion that he moved to be able to affect China, started on Maui,” said Arakawa.
“Sun Yat Sen and his brother actually lived on Maui. So the improvements to the Sun Yat Sen Park and to the park in I’ao are part of that movement to attract, and to be able to highlight the historical nature of what was done,” he said.