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Biden to meet Pacific Island nations as US-China attention stays high


Joe Biden to meet Pacific Island nations as leaders seek to ‘capitalise’ on US-China attention

Summit between American president and region’s leaders will be second in a year as Washington seeks to counter Beijing’s push for cloutCountries of geopolitically vital region expected to voice concerns including climate change and economic recovery following pandemicUS-China relationsKhushboo Razdanin New YorkPublished: 6:00am, 19 Sep, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

A second summit between US President Joe Biden and Pacific Island nations is slated to take place next week in Washington, a top official at an intergovernmental group from the region announced on Monday, underscoring the outsize influence wielded by the small but geopolitically vital countries of Oceania.

“Currently our senior officials are in negotiations with Washington over the outcomes that we would like to see when we meet with President Biden next week,” said Henry Puna, secretary general of the Pacific Island Forum, during an event hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in New York.

Puna expressed hope “that those outcomes will translate into concrete actions moving forward” because the Pacific region faced several challenges apart from climate change such as economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.

“Having small economies, we’ve been hit really hard with the border closures,” he said. But it is something that we’re very much looking forward to engaging with the US. And I’m sure that there will be very positive outcomes from our engagement.”

Acknowledging an increasingly polarised world dominated by geopolitical competition between the US and China, Puna observed that a period of “strategic neglect” for the Pacific Island region had been replaced by “strategic manipulation”.

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