United States pledges stepping-up cabinet-level visits to Pacific nations that get ‘lesser attention’

United States pledges stepping-up cabinet-level visits to Pacific nations that get ‘lesser attention’

White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell says he expects to see more US cabinet-level officials visiting Pacific island countries as the United States steps up its engagement in the region to counter China.

Speaking at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event in Washington, Mr Campbell said the United States needed more diplomatic facilities across the region, and more contact with Pacific island countries that at times “receive less attention”.

“And I think you will see more cabinet-level, more senior officials, going to the Pacific as we go forward. So, again, direct engagement — recognizing that nothing replaces, really, diplomatic boots on the ground,” Mr Campbell said.

US President Joe Biden’s administration has vowed to commit more resources to the Indo-Pacific as China has increased economic, military and police links with strategically important Pacific island nations that are hungry for foreign investment.

Beijing’s growing influence was highlighted by its security pact with the Solomon Islands this year, a move that fanned concerns in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

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