Sep 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden announces new diplomatic strategy with Pacific island nations

President Joe Biden speaks at an event in the Rose Garden.

President Biden speaks at an event in the Rose Garden on Sept. 28. Photo: Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The White House announced Thursday the first U.S. national strategy for cooperation with Pacific island countries to boost the Biden administration's ties with the region "as a priority of its foreign policy."

Driving the news: "The United States recognizes that geography links the Pacific's future to our own: U.S. prosperity and security depend on the Pacific region remaining free and open," the White House said.

  • The Biden administration also announced $810 million in aid to the islands, which is in addition to the $1.5 billion that the U.S. has provided to the region over the last decade.
  • The White House in the Thursday announcement said the Pacific islands region "holds opportunities and challenges, from the climate crisis to an increasingly complex geopolitical landscape."
  • "Increasingly those impacts include pressure and economic coercion by the People's Republic of China, which risks undermining the peace, prosperity, and security of the region, and by extension, of the United States,” the strategy document says, Reuters reports.
  • As part of the Biden administration's efforts, the White House said they will work with the region to fight the climate crisis, "recognizing the existential threats this crisis presents to the Pacific Islands."
  • The administration also said it will work with the islands to ensure that "they have the autonomy and security to advance their own interests."

The big picture: The strategy comes on the second day of a summit with leaders and representatives from more than a dozen Pacific island states, per Reuters.

  • President Biden is hosting the summit in Washington, which included remarks from Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday, and centers on strengthening ties with the Pacific region, per CNN.

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