Cook Island PM admits success of US Pacific summit was due to US acknowledging that it does not exist in the Pacific


Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown said the recognition of the United States’ absence in the Pacific was one of the reasons for the success of the United States Pacific Summit.

This follows the endorsement of a Joint Partnership Declaration by 14 Pacific island nations, which will see the United States increase its diplomatic presence in the Pacific to counter Beijing’s growing influence.

speak above ABC’s Pacific Beat On Oct. 4, Brown said many Pacific nations were “seeking help from every corner” in coming out of COVID and managing their debts.

“[F]or we consider the United States to be a major contributor [to Pacific Islands]with the announcement of support for Pacific nations,” Brown said.

“They realized their absence for decades had left a void in the Pacific that was filled by China and others who had helped.”

On September 29, all 14 Pacific island states issued a joint declaration endorsing the United States Pacific Partnership. The 11-point declaration addressed issues related to Pacific regionalism, climate change, economic growth, disaster relief, and peace and security.

Biden also announced on Sept. 29 that he would provide US$810 million in new funding to Pacific island nations over the next decade.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manaseh Sogavare initially refused to sign the joint statement if it included anything critical of China, saying more time was needed to consider the proposal.

But Sogavare backed the joint statement, and on 6 October assured Australia that it would not “endanger itself” by allowing Beijing to build a naval base in the South Pacific.

“Prime Minister, I reiterate once again that the Solomon Islands will never be used for foreign military installations or foreign institutions, as this is not in the interests of the Solomon Islands and their people,” said a meeting at the Capitol.

“My government’s legacy is to protect the future of the Solomon Islands and its people, and not to jeopardize the security of the country and its citizens, or the Forum Nation.”

Other Reasons to Support the US Pacific Summit

Brown said there were other reasons why Pacific Island countries, particularly the Solomon Islands, supported the joint statement.

“It wasn’t just rhetoric. It wasn’t sugarcoating,” Brown said.

“We had a full face-to-face meeting that was very focused on what the United States needs to do to re-engage in the Pacific.

“Whether or not it is still seen as a major competitive factor in our relationship with China. , now looking forward to similar engagement with the United States

“I think the invited Pacific Island countries emphasized the importance of the Pacific Islands Forum as an important institution for Pacific engagement on a regional basis.”

Strong aid and Peace Corps programs were initially a key component of U.S. engagement in the Pacific, but have been allowed to “atrophy” over the years, said Kurt Campbell, the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific coordinator. said on September 18th.

“There’s also a growing realization that in the past we haven’t had to pay attention to these key locations. And I think it’s important to be honest about that,” Campbell said. “And now we’re in the process of rebuilding them all.”

Henry Jom


Henry Jom is an Australia-based reporter covering Australian local news. Please contact [email protected].