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Politico | DEFIANCE by Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands cast shadow over Biden's Pacific Summit, 28 Sep, Day 1 off the reservation
the Solomon Islands, which signed a controversial security pact with China earlier this year, is refusing to sign an 11-point summit declaration "designed to provide a framework for intensified U.S. engagement in the Pacific," the Australian Broadcasting Corporation [ABCnet.au] reported Tuesday.
"the remains of former World War II battlefields such as Guadalcanal"
The administration is coordinating its summit outreach with its Partners in the Blue Pacific initiative allies Japan, Australia, New Zealand[, EU,] and the United Kingdom "to add more resources, more capacity, more diplomatic engagement as a whole," said The Official®. The summit will also mark the launch of the U.S. government's first-ever Pacific Strategy [since WWII], a regional-specific compliment [sic] to the administration's China-containing Indo-Pacific Strategy launched in September 2021.

"This [strategy]* is specifically aimed at the concerns and the objectives in the Pacific as a whole ... [and]* about how to organize the disparate elements of the U.S. government toward tackling issues like climate change, training, issues associated with [over]*fishing, investments in technology," The Official® said.

The administration will deploy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo[,] and Biden's climate envoy John Kerry on Wednesday [29 Sep] to tout the administration's determination to improve Pacific Island countries' links to the U.S.
"questions and concerns"
But the Marshall Islands' move to freeze talks on COFA [Compact of Free Association, Dept. Interior] renewal [sic] is a kick in the teeth to the administration just days after Special Presidential Envoy Ambassador Joseph Yun told POLITICO that the State Department was on track to renew COFAs with Palau, Micronesia[,] and the Marshall Islands by end-2022 after six months of intensive negotiations. And it raises questions about the Biden administration's strategy to use those COFAs to effectively firewall those three countries from Beijing's efforts to displace the U.S. as the region's dominant superpower....
* brackets in original
archived AUKUS/IPEF update: pivot to Paris Accord  June 2022

Sputnik | Solomon Islands Deals a Blow to US by Refusing to Sign Pacific Declaration, 28 Sep
"The Pacific leaders have also compared US draft declaration with a similar proposal put forth by China in June. Pacific Island leaders rejected it and asked China to come up with a fresh document."

GAO, "COMPACTS OF FREE ASSOCIATION, Implications of Planned Ending of Some U.S.
Economic Assistance
", Feb 2022, 200 pp; no Solomon Islands COFA
Guardian | US Pacific summit faces rocky start as [PIC] leaders reject Washington's offers, 28 Sep

The 11-point declaration of US-Pacific partnership, a draft of which has been seen by the Guardian, commits Pacific countries and the US to working together "in the face of a worsening climate crisis and an increasingly complex geopolitical environment".

The [US] draft differs markedly from the sweeping regional economic and security deal that China presented to 10 Pacific countries earlier this year, which was ultimately rejected by Pacific leaders.

China's deal was incredibly detailed, committing to particular sums of money, programs and even outlining the number Chinese art troupes that would be sent to the islands as part of a cultural exchange program. [...] The draft declaration with the US is far more general, committing to principles of engagement - such as bolstering Pacific regionalism, tackling the climate crisis, advancing economic growth, protecting the Blue Pacific[,] and maintaining peace and security - rather than outlining specific policies and promises
by Cat on Wed Sep 28th, 2022 at 01:10:07 PM EST
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