The United States of America (USA) aims to strengthen its partnership with the Pacific, particularly in critical areas such as public health, climate crisis, economic growth, and other vital regional priorities. The U.S. Secretary of State revealed this, Mr Antony Blinken, while addressing the Pacific leaders on Monday, May 22, 2023, at U.S-Pacific Islands Dialogue in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
Secretary Blinken said the U.S. has been engaging with governments in the Pacific to deliver the outcomes of the first U.S-Pacific Summit, held in Washington, D.C, last year.
For this, he announced that the United States plans to be among the founding partners to support the Pacific in establishing the new Pacific Resilience Facility to support investments in adaptation and resilience.
“The U.S will also commit more than $7.1 billion to the Freely Associated States over the next 20 years, and we’ve also included an enhanced South Pacific Tuna Treaty,” he informed the Pacific leaders.
“We have just completed negotiations on a new 10-year economic assistance agreement which will support livelihoods across the region and boost our cooperation on priorities like combatting illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
“We’re advancing shared prosperity across our region by connecting American and Pacific companies and boosting trade and investment through new initiatives and dialogue.”
Mr Blinken also highlighted that the U.S. had launched a new transportation partnership and strategic infrastructure initiatives to unlock over $450 million in financing for clean energy connectivity and digital infrastructure.
“I’m here to listen to everyone’s ideas and priorities to ensure that the U.S. is a strong, reliable and effective partner in the Pacific Islands in the future that we are building together.”
Speaking on behalf of the Pacific leaders, the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) chair and the Cook Islands Prime Minister, Honourable Mark Brown, reaffirmed their shared vision for a resilient region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity.
He added that the Pacific is committed to bolstering Pacific regionalism, with a strong and united Pacific Islands Forum at its centre.
“We will continue to work together to solve the shared challenges such as the climate crisis, to advance inclusive economic growth and social equity for the people of the Pacific and to advocate on shared priorities jointly.”
PIF members represented at the dialogue included Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.