OAN’s James Meyers
1:03 PM – Monday, September 25, 2023
The United States has established a new partnership with two South Pacific countries.
President Joe Biden announced on Monday that the U.S. has now established diplomatic relations with the Cook Islands and Niue.
Biden reportedly welcomed the leaders of the two countries during a two-day U.S.-Pacific Island Forum Summit, which is expected to focus on climate change.
The 46th president said in a statement on Monday that the new relations with the two nations would help the U.S. address climate change, protect maritime borders and marine resources, and advance “a free and open Indo-Pacific Region.”
This comes as tensions with China have been rising.
A senior administration official said in a call with press reporters that the administration is currently focused on showing Pacific Island nations how its work with “like-minded partners” can create “viable alternatives that will work for Pacific island nations.”
The summit will commence with Biden welcoming the leaders to the White House on Monday. Later in the afternoon, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry will join the leaders for a number of discussions on the issue, according to a senior administration official.
Biden is reportedly looking into opening an embassy in Vanuatu by “early next year,” the senior official continued.
The official also said that the administration will be announcing “multi-million dollar projects” in infrastructure across the Pacific Island nations, including an undersea cable project to strengthen internet connectivity.