US President Joe Biden recognizes the Cook Islands and Niue as “sovereign and independent” states and pledges to establish diplomatic relations, aiming to counter China’s growing influence in the Pacific region. The move comes as Biden hosts Pacific Island leaders for a two-day summit in Washington, DC. The summit will focus on climate change, economic growth, sustainable development, and public health, while also addressing the intensifying competition between the US and China. The US seeks to strengthen ties with Pacific Island nations and provide security guarantees in exchange for economic cooperation.
US Recognizes Cook Islands and Niue as Biden Hosts Pacific Island Leaders
The United States has recognized the Cook Islands and Niue as “sovereign and independent” states and pledged to open diplomatic relations, as US President Joe Biden bolsters ties to Pacific Island nations as part of a push to counter growing Chinese influence. Biden stated that the history and future of the Pacific Islands and the United States are closely linked, and the recognition and establishment of diplomatic relations will strengthen ties and ensure a more secure and prosperous future for both nations.
Focus on Climate Change and Economic Cooperation
The US-Pacific Island Forum Summit, hosted by President Biden, will heavily focus on the effects of the climate crisis, economic growth, sustainable development, and public health. Pacific Island leaders have been critical of rich countries, including the US, for not doing enough to control climate change. The summit aims to address these concerns and explore opportunities for economic cooperation, with the US seeking to work with the Pacific Island nations and provide security guarantees in exchange for their participation in economic activities.
Amidst the summit, tensions between the US and China remain a significant backdrop. The US has been pushing against China’s economic and military influence in the Indo-Pacific, leading to strained relations between the two countries. However, senior members of the Biden administration have expressed their intention to manage these tensions and avoid confrontation with China.
The Pacific Island summit includes leaders from Australia, the Cook Islands, Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. The summit is expected to result in announcements on infrastructure projects, funding for maritime cooperation, and other areas of collaboration.