| 15 April 2024, Monday |

With eye on China, US announces $810 mn funding for Pacific Islands

In a major attempt to increase their presence in the region, United States announced on Thursday that it will be providing an additional $810 million in support to the Pacific Island countries. During the first US-Pacific Summit, the US also said that they will recognise Niue and Cook Islands as sovereign states.

The summit was attended by leaders from Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and New Caledonia.

The summit holds special importance for the US after China made steady headways in its relationship with the Pacific Island nations this year. As a result, it came as no surprise that President Joe Biden announced that the new aid will be spent on infrastructure as well as measures against the climate crisis.

“The Pacific Islands are a critical voice in shaping the future, and that’s why my administration has made it a priority to strengthen our partnership with your countries,” Biden said at the summit.

“We’re seeing the consequences of climate change around the world very vividly, including in the United States right now, and I know your nations feel it acutely,” he added according to Reuters.

Also read | 19 dead and 27 injured after suicide bomb blast at educational center in Kabul

In April this year, the Solomon Islands signed a controversial pact with China signing Beijing’s presence in the region. However, President Manasseh Sogavare was also part of the US-Pacific declaration on Thursday.

During the summit, US officials did not mention China, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned against “heightened geopolitical competition impacts” for the Pacific Island countries.

  • Wions