Biden to host Pacific Island summit
The White House announces hosting the Pacific Island summit amid fear of "Chinese dominance" in the area.
US President Joe Biden will host Pacific Island leaders for a one-of-a-kind conference on September 28-29, the White House stated on Friday.
The inaugural US-Pacific Island Country summit, which will take place at the White House, will push for "a free and open Indo-Pacific," according to a statement, using the veiled US language to "keep China from dominating Asia."
Biden will also discuss climate change -- an existential issue for the islands -- as well as maritime security and fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, the statement said.
"The summit will demonstrate the United States' deep and enduring partnership with Pacific Island countries and the Pacific region that is underpinned by shared history, values, and people-to-people ties," it said.
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While visiting Tonga last month, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman confirmed arrangements for the summit but did not provide specific dates.
After China inked a security pact with the Solomon Islands in April and unsuccessfully sought a bigger agreement with the region, the South Pacific has increasingly garnered the attention of the United States.
Despite denials from the tiny country's government, the US and its partner Australia are concerned that the Solomon Islands, which recently prevented the US Coast Guard from refueling, would provide a military footing for China.
In a virtual address to a Pacific Islands meeting in July, Vice President Kamala Harris revealed $600 million in additional financing and plans for the United States to open new embassies in Tonga and Kiribati.
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