US President Biden Set to Meet with Pacific Island Leaders for Second Summit, Igniting Strategic Competition with China
Pacific island countries are set to meet with US President Joe Biden for a second summit. The Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Henry Puna, expressed excitement about engaging with the US on pressing issues such as climate change and economic recovery from COVID-19. Puna highlighted the newfound strategic interest and competition in the region between the US and China and emphasized the need for sustainable gains for the future. Pacific island countries are willing to work with any partner willing to work with them.
Pacific island countries are set to meet with US President Joe Biden next week for a second summit, according to the Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Henry Puna. The announcement was made at an event in New York hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. While the White House has not yet responded to a request for comment on the specific timing of the summit, US officials had previously stated that it would be held in September. Puna expressed enthusiasm for the summit, stating that the region is looking forward to engaging with the US on a high level.
He also highlighted the pressing issues and challenges facing the Pacific region, such as climate change and the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Puna emphasized that the Pacific region, which was previously neglected strategically, has now become a subject of strategic interest and competition, particularly between the United States and China. He urged the region to capitalize on the current attention and ensure sustainable gains for the future.
Puna made it clear that Pacific island countries are willing to engage with any partner that is willing to work with them, rather than around them. The first summit between Biden and Pacific island leaders was held last year, during which the Biden administration pledged to aid in countering China's economic coercion and committed to meeting the needs of the islanders in collaboration with allies and partners.