The United States to regain its influence in the South Pacific

At the initiative of US President Joe Biden, the United States organized on Wednesday and Thursday, for the first time in its history, a summit with all the islands of the South Pacific, to demonstrate its attachment to a region considered strategic.

“Much of the history of the world will be written in the Indo-Pacific region in the coming years and decades, and the Pacific Islands are a vital voice in shaping that future. This is why the priority of my government has been to strengthen the partnership with your countries”Joe Biden said Thursday before the leaders of a dozen island states.

On the occasion of the summit, the White House released a statement listing its commitments, including “supporting the United States-Pacific partnership, increasing the presence [diplomatique] in the region, coordination with its allies and partners, the climate, the economy, security and maritime cooperation, cybersecurity, Covid-19 and the management of the legacy of the Second World War”details CNN.

$810 million in aid

The United States also announced an additional $210 million in aid, on top of the $600 million over ten years pledged last July by Vice President Kamala Harris at the Pacific Islands Forum.

Al-Jazeera particularly retains the project “extension of the diplomatic footprint” of the United States in the region, with “the opening of three new missions and the creation of a new position of ambassador to the Pacific Islands Forum, the key organization in the region”. Washington also plans “the relocation of a United States Agency for Development Assistance (USAID) mission to Fiji”.

Joe Biden also announced “the recognition, ‘after consultation’, of the Cook Islands and Niue”autonomous territories “historically linked to New Zealand”raise it South China Morning Post.

“Decades of disengagement”

This peak is “symbolically important” because it shows that the Biden government “takes the situation seriously”declares to Washington Post Gregory Poling, South Pacific specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. But the United States “wouldn’t pay so much attention to the Pacific Islands if they weren’t afraid of losing influence there to China”he nuances.

“Since World War II, the United States viewed the South Pacific as a relatively safe and stable region for American interests, but that changed with Chinese ambitions”observe the Wall Street Journal. “The Biden Administration Summit Sends an Important Signal that the United States is Regaining Interest in the Region”.

The Financial Times recalls that Beijing “caught the United States by surprise this year, signing a security pact with the Solomon Islands”. For the experts, such an agreement highlighted “the lack of attention, in recent years, on the part of Washington and its allies, towards the Pacific region”.

The American Initiative “demonstrates recognition” by Joe Biden of “geostrategic risks” presented by “decades of American disengagement”abstract Politico. “But the government’s biggest challenge will be convincing skeptical island states that the US strategy reflects a long-term commitment to the region, not a passing panic over Beijing’s intentions.”.

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