The United States will announce "big dollar" assistance to Pacific island nations during its first summit with U.S. President Joe Biden. Washington hopes the meeting will help counter China's growing influence in the new theater of geopolitical competition, Reuters reports.
Leaders from 12 Pacific island nations are expected to attend the two-day summit in Washington, with Australia and New Zealand participating as observers.
White House Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell said last week that the summit will address issues such as climate change and health, and Washington and its allies are focusing on improving maritime security and communication links of island nations with countries such as Japan, Australia and India.
Leaders will be honored throughout Washington, including at the State Department, the U.S. Congress, Coast Guard headquarters, and the White House. Washington will also unveil a detailed new strategy specifically for the Pacific region on Wednesday, a senior Biden administration official said.
The official acknowledged that Washington has not paid enough attention to the Pacific region over the years and has worked closely with allied and partner nations to add more resources, more capabilities, more diplomatic engagement.
"We will have big dollar numbers," he said, adding that these would be announced on Wednesday.
"We have sought to align our strategy to meet their goals and objectives," he said referring the 2050 Blue Pacific Continent strategy Pacific leaders have announced that prioritizes action on climate change.
Strategic rivalry in the Pacific has sharply escalated this year after China signed a security agreement with the Solomon Islands.