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US re-engaging in Pacific islands deal, offering ‘big dollar number’

According to the United States, it has reached an agreement with the Pacific Islands on a cooperation that may provide “large dollar” assistance to an area where China has been enlarging its influence.

As the US increases its participation in the region, US President Joe Biden is inviting leaders and representatives from 14 island nations for a two-day summit at the White House.

The Biden administration will announce that it will invest more than $860 million in expanded programmes to aid the islands, on top of the more than $1.5 billion granted during the previous ten years, according to US officials quoted in the Washington Post.

It further stated that the 11-point statement had been approved by all visiting leaders, including President Manasseh Sogavare of the Solomon Islands. According to reports on Wednesday, Sogavare, who has recently gotten closer to China, was not ready to sign.

The financial amount was not immediately addressed by the White House, but a US official informed that the information was accurate.

The leaders are being honoured all across Washington, DC, and on Thursday they will have supper with the president at the White House and lunch at the US Congress.

Before the summit began, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed the leaders of the Pacific Islands, stating that they had “came together behind a statement of partnership between the US and the Pacific,” which would serve as a “roadmap” for their future relationship.

He held up a document and stated that it demonstrated a “common vision for the future and a resolve to develop that future together” between the United States and the Pacific Islands.

The common vision, according to Blinken, “recognises that working together is actually the only way we can genuinely solve the largest challenges of our day, which confront all of our citizens.”

He mentioned the need to address the climate catastrophe, health crises, expand economic opportunities, and maintain a “free and open Indo-Pacific” where each country, no matter how big or little, “has the right to choose its own path.”

Climate change is a significant concern for Pacific leaders, and John Kerry, the special presidential envoy for climate, convened a session during the talks in Washington, DC.

Kerry commended local leaders for setting a more aggressive global climate goal than that which was decided upon at the 2015 Paris climate summit.

I want to congratulate you for that because your perseverance and dedication were actually what made it happen. The world was changed as a result, he claimed.

According to a person familiar with the discussions, a deal on undersea cables was also probably.

Neha Ayub
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