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Now the US wants to suddenly increase Pacific engagement

Pacific leaders have been invited to the White House later this year as the United States made their intentions known of a more rigorous presence in the region.

US Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell made the statement during the US-New Zealand business summit held on Monday in New Zealand.
Mr Campbell joined in via a virtual call from the US capital.

He indicated that the Biden administration wanted to revive ties with island nations, especially with those who have not had any diplomatic ties for decades.

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He said the US would also increase support for multilateral engagement through the Pacific Islands Forum, indicating a US push for Micronesian States to perhaps rethink their vote to exit the Forum.

The US remains one of the biggest aid donors in Micronesia.

Kurt Campbell meets with Fijian PM Voreqe Bainimarama. Picture: Fijian Government

Mr Campbell said they would be staffing the Forum for support and had faith that the regional body would carry the voice of all Pacific nations.

“For the United States to be effective in the Pacific we must do more, and we must do more on areas that matter and are of significance to the Pacific Islanders,” Mr Campbell said during the virtual call.

He said the Biden administration would fund projects in the region through USAID and the new US International Development Finance Corporation.

He said the activity of the US Peace Corp would also be restored to much of the Pacific.

Kurt Campbell on board the US Coast Munro in Suva. Picture: Fijian Government

He added that along with more engagement with Pacific countries, the United States aimed to work more intensively on regional cooperation with New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Britain, France and others.

It was only a week ago when Mr Campbell led a high level delegation to the Pacific.

The renewed interest and promises of funding has definitely been sparked by what the US believes is China’s move into the region. Fireworks were set off after the China-Solomon Islands security deal.

Mr Campbell even took a swipe at how New Zealand viewed the security situation in the region, calling it ambivalent.

With this latest announcement from the White House, it is now more than clear that the geopolitical focus has moved to the Pacific.

1 Comment
  1. Mithasy B Mark 2 weeks ago
    Reply

    why now? China influences has been rooted in the pacific islands now adays and many pacific leaderships have already attached to it

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