US Hosts Summit to Court Pacific Island Nations
On Wednesday, the two-day US-Pacific Islands Country Summit kicked off as US Pres. Biden hosted leaders from the Pacific Islands amid increasing rivalry between the US and China in the Pacific region. This meeting was announced in June as a first-of-its-kind gathering.
- On Wednesday, the two-day US-Pacific Islands Country Summit kicked off as US Pres. Biden hosted leaders from the Pacific Islands amid increasing rivalry between the US and China in the Pacific region. This meeting was announced in June as a first-of-its-kind gathering.
- While the Biden admin.'s top regional priority is countering China's military and economic influence, visiting leaders seek help to tackle climate change, which they view as an existential threat.
- Leaked documents revealed dissent on the eve of the summit, with the Solomon Islands rejecting to endorse an agreement proposed by the US and leaders from Palau, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands regarding economic assistance.
- During the summit, the US will disclose its first Pacific Island-based strategy. The strategy is expected to focus on climate change, ocean sustainability, and fighting illegal fishing.
- The White House has reportedly invited 12 Pacific Islands nations, including the Solomon Islands. The Solomon Islands struck a security pact with China in April, raising concerns about Beijing’s growing influence in the region.
- The Biden admin. has deepened engagement with Pacific Island countries - sending official delegations, announcing plans to open embassies in Kiribati, Solomon Islands, and Tonga, and encouraging cooperation on key issues.
Sources: Al Jazeera, ABC, Guardian, Washington Post, and Reuters.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Global Times. This summit is doomed to failure. The US approach to the Pacific Islands is disjointed - motivated only by the fear of China's regional influence. After neglecting the "Blue Pacific Continent" for decades, the US can't deliver the needed level of assistance. Importantly, US military presence isn't wanted in Pacific Island societies.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by USIP. Beijing's influence over the South Pacific has indeed inspired Washington to redouble its regional diplomatic efforts, but the US has long been interested in Oceania. The US is a Pacific Ocean country itself and has close relationships with the 'Freely Associated States' and other countries. By hosting this summit, the US is stepping up as a vital Pacific partner.