The United States established diplomatic relations with the Cook Islands and New Zealand


Julia Nickson/Reuters/File

A view of the White House on July 4, 2023 in Washington, USA.



CNN

The United States on Monday formally established diplomatic relations with a pair of Pacific islands, recognizing the Cook Islands and Niue for the first time.

The recognition comes as President Joe Biden seeks to strengthen ties in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China’s growing influence, a key issue since he took office. has been a priority. The administration has worked to deepen its engagement with Pacific island nations, and is hosting leaders of the Pacific Island Forum at the White House on Monday.

Biden said in a pair of statements that he was “proud” to recognize the Cook Islands and New Zealand as sovereign, independent states.

New, Biden said, “plays an important and constructive role in the Pacific, including supporting the region’s sustainable development, security, and maritime security and protection of the oceans.”

He continued, “Today’s announcement will enable us to deepen cooperation with New Zealand on these challenges – tackling the climate crisis, protecting maritime borders and marine resources, building sustainable economic growth, free and As far as maintaining an open Indo-Pacific. region.”

And the announcement with the Cook Islands, Biden said, “will enable us to expand the scope of this enduring partnership as we seek to address the challenges that are most important to the lives of our people – illegal, By combating unreported, and unregulated fishing, combating climate change, building inclusive economic growth, advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and beyond.”

Biden is also set to unveil new infrastructure funding for Pacific Island partner nations, and will announce $10 million through the Quad Partnership to improve maritime domain awareness in the Pacific. Senior administration officials said.

PIF consists of leaders from Nauru, Vanuatu, French Polynesia, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Palau. , Samoa, and Tonga.

Biden will host the leaders for the summit and a working lunch afterward. He will also participate in a roundtable with Special Presidential Envoy on Climate Change John Kerry before an evening dinner hosted by Secretary of State Anthony Blanken and UN Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield.

US officials will officially mark the occasion during a reception on Monday as the US officially opens diplomatic relations with the Cook Islands and New Zealand.

In addition to new diplomatic ties, the official said the summit will also see the US announce steps to “provide secure undersea cable connectivity to Pacific island nations – which many of these nations need – Where internet speed and connectivity isn’t as reliable as it should be, and where we all benefit.”

And the Quad Partnership – an informal collaboration between Australia, India, Japan and the United States – will announce that it is expanding the 2022 Maritime Domain Awareness Initiative to the Pacific island region with a $10 million investment. Amid an escalating fight with Kari to “improve maritime domain awareness”. China

Still, the first official said, the focus will be on building stronger ties with participating Pacific island nations rather than outright countering China’s influence in the region.

“I think we genuinely believe and feel that our national interests are intertwined with a free, open, dynamic and dynamic Pacific region and that the United States is a Pacific power that is here to stay. Is.”

“But there is no question that there is some role [People’s Republic of China] has played a role in all of this – there’s no question that his tenacity and influence, including in the region, has been a factor in why we need to maintain our strategic focus, but what we really focus on is Focus is showing our Pacific Island friends, that the United States can work with like-minded partners to provide viable alternatives that will work for Pacific Island countries.

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