(Washington DC)– Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka of Fiji is honored to attend the US-Pacific Leaders Summit, hosted by President Joe Biden at the White House.
This summit, the second of its kind, brings together Pacific Island leaders under the umbrella of the 18-nation Pacific Islands Forum, reaffirming the strong bonds of partnership and cooperation that exist between the United States and the Pacific island nations.
During the welcoming ceremony, President Biden made several significant announcements aimed at enhancing relations and addressing the shared challenges faced by our region:
The United States officially recognized the sovereignty and independence of two more Pacific island nations, the Cook Islands and Niue, reinforcing the importance of self-determination and self-governance for all nations.
The United States pledged to provide financial support for infrastructure development in the region, including efforts to improve internet connectivity through undersea cables.
The U.S. is committed to promoting sustainable and resilient infrastructure that benefits the people of the Pacific.
President Biden reiterated the United States’ commitment to a free, open, prosperous, and secure Indo-Pacific region. He expressed a willingness to collaborate with all nations present at the summit to achieve this shared goal.
The U.S. government will work with Congress to allocate $40 million to support secure, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure in the region.
This financial support will be part of a broader initiative involving partners such as Japan and Australia, focusing on climate-resilient economic development.
Prime Minister Mark Brown of the Cook Islands, who chairs the Pacific Islands Forum, emphasized the importance of developing partnerships for prosperity during the summit.
He invited Washington to actively engage at the highest level in the upcoming 52nd Pacific Island Forum leaders meeting, where a 2050 plan will be endorsed.
President Biden’s commitment to the Pacific islands follows his administration’s pledge to help the region fend off economic coercion from other nations.
The United States aims to strengthen its partnership with Pacific island nations in various areas, including climate change, economic growth, sustainable development, public health, and countering illegal fishing.
Recognizing the historic ties between the United States and the Cook Islands, dating back to World War Two, President Biden highlighted the contributions of Niue in supporting sustainable development, security, marine protection, and ocean conservation in the Pacific.
While some leaders from the region were unable to attend the summit, the United States remains committed to engaging with all Pacific island nations to enhance cooperation with a focus on mutual prosperity, security, and sustainability.
Prime Minister Rabuka welcomes the stronger U.S. regional presence as a step towards making the Pacific more secure and prosperous.
Fiji remains committed to working closely with the United States and other Pacific island nations to address common challenges and seize opportunities for growth and development.