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The US’s intention for our region

There will be more United States naval battle ships coming to the Pacific said Admiral Samuel Paparo, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The USS Jackson, an independence class combat ship is currently berthed in Suva and has been conducting the oceanic maritime security initiative. Admiral Paparo said the USS Jackson was in the Pacific because of bilateral relationship and partnerships.

“We are looking inward at our own partnerships with Fiji that’s, you know, that spans many decades back to the Second World War and before and so Jackson’s visit runs through the prism of our relationships, and free and openness and isn’t designed to counter any other external partner,” Mr Paparo said.

Admrial Sam Paparo says US naval presence will increase in the Pacific. Picture US Pacific Fleet
There will be more United States naval battle ships coming to the Pacific said Admiral Samuel Paparo, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Picture: US Pacific Fleet

There is going to be a further increase in US naval presence in the Pacific as the United States pays greater attention to its responsibility.

“And I would expect more ships in the months to come particularly as the pandemic has relented, and I’d also expect more of the small capabilities, construction battalions and kind of the some of the capabilities that are about infrastructure about preparedness to combat climate change, and then you know, those kinds of those kinds of operations.”

The US Pacific fleet started their patrol at the end of August and will continue to the end of September. The Fleet consists of approximately 200 ships and submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft, and more than 130,000 sailors and civilians.

Its presence has increased after China increased its naval and military presence around Taiwan.

The USS Jackson has been conducting exercises starting in August. Picture Ana Civavonovono
The USS Jackson has been conducting exercises which started in August. There will be more United States naval battle ships coming to the Pacific said Admiral Samuel Paparo, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Picture: Ana Civavonovono

The US through its Pacific patrols is also engaging with nations where bases could be set up and nations which could be an ally in battle if the need arose.

“Maritime security runs through the prism of our partner needs. And all of the partners are equal. So in that particular case here in the Pacific, and I’ll just underscore that the United States is a Pacific nation. The important issues are maritime domain awareness to support countering illegal unreported and unregulated fishing,” Mr Papapro said.

“Also to combat piracy, which is a growing problem in the Pacific. And then we have an added emphasis on our ability to combat climate change, and our ability to respond to climate change related events, natural disasters all throughout the Pacific.

“And this is all part of a matter of duty between partners as you all know, there’s a very rich history between the United States and Fiji going back going back decade after decade.”

The next steps by US announced – 17 September 2022

 

United States Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman reaffirmed the US commitment to the Pacific Islands at this year’s Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders (PICL) convened by the East-West Center Pacific Islands Development Program in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

In doing so, she announced a number of agreements, trade deals and aid which will be coming into the Pacific.

Ms Sherman said the South Pacific Tuna Treaty and a related Economic Assistance Agreement with the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency have been a cornerstone of US cooperation with the Pacific Islands for over three decades and a vital component of the wide range of US engagement and financial assistance in the region.

“We plan to enhance our cooperation with the Pacific Islands to strengthen the resilience of ocean resources to climate change and other threats – including by marine planning and conservation, improving fisheries sustainability; and sustainable aquaculture planning and design, building climate resilience and mitigating climate change impacts related to fisheries and other sectors; combatting illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; combatting plastic pollution, and supporting maritime security in the region – all in support of a long-term vision for economic and environmental resilience in the Pacific,” she said.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman speaking at a seminar. Picture - Wendy R Sherman Twitter
United States Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman reaffirmed the US commitment to the Pacific Islands at this year’s Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders convened by the East-West Center Pacific Islands Development Program in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Picture: Wendy R Sherman Twitter

The U.S. government is also boosting secure and reliable digital connectivity in the region. The United States, along with Australia and Japan, is committed to working with the Federated States of Micronesia , Kiribati, and Nauru to improve internet connectivity to these three countries by providing technical assistance and funding that the FSM plans to use for the East Micronesia Cable.

US International Development Finance Corporation announced its first transaction in Papua New Guinea in 2021. In collaboration with USAID, DFC provided an investment guarantee to MiBank for up to US$5 million to enable small and medium-sized enterprise operators, female borrowers, and marginalised populations access to finance.

USAID is providing technical assistance to assist borrowers with financial literacy and business management skills.

USAID is advancing competitiveness, agriculture, livelihoods, and the environment in Solomon Islands through its Strengthening Competitiveness, Agriculture, Livelihoods and Environment (SCALE) project.

This year, the project will support the construction of 11 agribusiness facilities to improve economic growth. USAID will also invest an additional US$1.5 million to the Solomon Islands to improve the sustainability of forestry practices, help conserve forests, and enable communities to reap the dividends of those natural resources.

In Solomon Islands, USTDA is working with the Central Bank of Solomon Islands to develop an ICT roadmap to support the deployment of new banking applications that will strengthen the central bank’s operations.

The Department of State will commit $300,000 to support capacity building for the development of best practices and guidelines to supervise the use and management of virtual assets in Fiji, Palau, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, and Tonga.

us fiji pacific
Prime Minister of Fiji Voreqe Bainimarama and deputy Assistant to the President of the United States and National Security Council Indo-Pacific Coordinator, Kurt Campbell. Picture: supplied

Millennium Challenge Corporation works globally to reduce poverty through inclusive and sustainable economic growth, including through partnerships with two Pacific Island countries – Solomon Islands and Kiribati.

This year, MCC and the Government of Solomon Islands are beginning implementation of a US$20 million Threshold Program that aims to improve management of natural resources in the forestry sector and support secure access to land to increase tourism investment.

MCC and the Government of Kiribati are also actively developing a Threshold Program that aims to support the ability of the Government of Kiribati to facilitate decent, inclusive employment opportunities for I-Kiribati citizens by connecting workers with employment opportunities in Kiribati and in new markets with strong worker protections; building skills required for employment; strengthening protections for workers; and ensuring inclusion of underrepresented groups in employment programs.

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