Pacific island leaders will meet with United States President Joe Biden at the end of the month, indicating that the US is worried about geopolitical tensions in the region.
The White House announced Friday that Mr Biden will host Pacific Island leaders in Washington.
The US President was due to address the Pacific Islands Forum leaders in July however this did not eventuate. Vice President Kamala Harris stepped into his place while an invitation for a future meeting was sent to the forum leaders.
The US is looking to deal with issues surrounding the Solomon Islands and Kiribati. The Solomon Islands just last week had another international incident that saw US Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Henry denied approval to refuel, forcing the ship to go to Papua New Guinea.
Later the nation issued a statement calling for a moratorium on all navy ships coming to the Solomon Islands so the government could improve its processes.
Kiribati meanwhile has withdrawn from the Pacific Islands Forum, with blame being placed on China’s visit in June. The US since June has increased its presence in the Pacific and aid to the region.
If this upcoming meeting proceeds, Mr Biden will become the first US president in history to have met all Pacific island leaders at a personal level.
Prior to this presidential visits have gone only as far as New Zealand which only two US presidents have done.
US press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement the meetings on September 28-29 “will demonstrate the United States’ deep and enduring partnership with Pacific Island countries and the Pacific region.”
Mr Biden has invited the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Nauru, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tuvalu, Tonga, and Fiji to take part in the summit, according to the White House.
The Biden administration came into office in 2021 and is looking to put greater focus on Asia-Pacific amid growing concerns about China as an economic and military competitor.
To that end, Mr Biden has agreed to the sale of nuclear submarines to Australia and raised the profile of the Indo-Pacific security dialogue known as the Quad which includes Australia, India, Japan and the United States.
He’s also called out China for military provocations against Taiwan, human rights abuse against ethnic minorities and efforts to squelch pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong.