The event is being prepared after Beijing and the Solomon Islands reached a comprehensive diplomatic and security agreement.
According to the White House, US President Joe Biden will host a gathering of Pacific Island countries to further their collaboration on security, climate change, and a variety of other concerns. He also vowed to guarantee a "free and open Indo-Pacific."
The "first-ever US-Pacific Island Country Summit," as it has been called by authorities, will take place in Washington, DC on September 28 and 29, the White House stated on Friday.
The meeting will "reflect our broadening and deepening cooperation on key issues such as climate change, pandemic response, economic recovery, maritime security, environmental protection, and advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific," the statement said. "The Summit will demonstrate the United States traveled deep and enduring partnership with Pacific Island countries and the Pacific region that is underpinned by shared history, values, and people-to-people ties."
The news coincides with Washington's efforts to strengthen ties with the area, even though it is not yet known which Pacific nations would attend the meeting. Senior State Department officials traveled to the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea in April. While there, they pledged to "advance efforts" on climate change and healthcare in the three nations, as well as to reopen the US embassy in the Solomons.
Following the closure of its complex in the Solomon Islands in 1993, the US now maintains diplomatic ties with Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands through a single embassy in the latter country's capital. There has never been a separate US embassy in Vanuatu.
The US further joined the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan to start the "Partners in the Blue Pacific" program in June, which seeks to "build tighter links with Pacific nations."
The efforts to normalize ties also come after the Solomon Islands and China signed programnormalizeignificant security and diplomatic agreement in April, which drew warnings from the White House about a potential long-term Chinese military presence in the area. Beijing has refuted the existence of such plans.
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