Fiji joins US-led Indo-Pacific economic initiative: White House
The US welcomes Fiji's decision to join the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) as a founding member.
Oceania's Fiji has joined the newly created Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) launched by US President Joe Biden with a view to tackling global inflation and containing China's economic influence, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan confirmed.
"President Biden welcomes Fiji's decision to join the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) as a founding member, the 14th nation and first in the Pacific Islands to do so. IPEF now reflects the full regional diversity of the Indo-Pacific," Sullivan said in a statement released on Thursday.
The US security advisor also expressed his belief that Fiji would add a vitally important perspective to IPEF, including on efforts to fight climate change and establish a green economy.
"The United States thanks [Fijian] Prime Minister [Frank] Bainimarama, and we look forward to deepening our partnership for the benefit of our countries, the Pacific Islands, and the Indo-Pacific," the statement added.
It is noteworthy that Biden launched IPEF together with 12 Indo-Pacific countries during his visit to Tokyo on Monday. The initiative is aimed at increasing cooperation between the Indo-Pacific nations and delivering benefits for the people of the region, as per the members' claims.
Washington regards the initiative as a model for addressing contemporary challenges, ranging from setting rules of the digital economy to ensuring sustainable supply chains.
In the same context, China's Foreign Minister will soon visit the Solomon Islands, one month after signing a security agreement with the Pacific nation.
China and the Solomon Islands signed in April a framework agreement on security cooperation to boost long-term tranquility and social stability in the Islands.
The Solomons' government had confirmed that Chinese Minister Wang Yi would visit Honiara with a "nearly 20-member delegation," calling the trip a "milestone".
The stop at the Solomon Islands will be particularly closely watched amid worries in the United States and its close ally Australia over the nation's recent security deal with China.
In the same context, reports by The Financial Times citing officials say that China is to hold negotiations on potential security deals with Kiribati and possibly Vanuatu.
An intelligence official from a US-allied country said, "They are in talks with Kiribati and at least one more Pacific island country over an agreement that would cover much of the same ground as that with the Solomon Islands."
It is noteworthy that the US Army Pacific (USARPAC) will be taking part in more than 15 major military exercises with several allies and partners across the Info-Pacific, Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby had said on May 9.
"Between May and September of this year, the US Army Pacific will participate in over 15 major exercises with multiple multinational and joint partners across the Indo-Pacific," Kirby told a press briefing, revealing that the forces will be executing Operation Pathways across the region and Asia.