The United States has reportedly invited 12 regional countries, including the Solomon Islands, which signed a security pact with China in April, heightening Washington’s concerns over Beijing’s growing influence.
The White House has announced that U.S. President Joe Biden will invite leaders of Pacific Island nations to meet in Washington on Sept. 28-29.
The White House said in a statement that the summit will “expand and deepen U.S. cooperation on critical issues such as the climate crisis, pandemic response, economic recovery, maritime security, environmental protection, and promotion of a free and open Indo-Pacific.” said it would reflect Friday statement.
An administration official told Reuters that the White House had invited 12 Pacific island nations, including the Solomon Islands, which signed a security pact with China in April.
The Solomon Islands, which switched ties from Taiwan to Beijing in 2019, are the focus of an intensifying rivalry between China and the United States in a strategically important region.
The Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji were invited, as well as the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu, of which Taiwan counts among its 14 diplomatic allies.
The White House did not provide details about countries confirmed to be attending the summit, which Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who visited the region in August, suggested as a priority.
During that trip, Prime Minister Manase Sogavale of the Solomon Islands skipped an appointment to attend a planned World War II commemoration ceremony with Sherman.
The United States has stepped up its engagement with Pacific island nations under the Biden administration, sending several high-level delegations and announcing plans to open embassies in the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Tonga.
https://www.trtworld.com/asia/biden-to-host-pacific-island-leaders-with-eyes-on-china-60421?utm_source=other&utm_medium=rss Biden welcomes Pacific island nation leaders who look to China