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Biden's Pacific Island Diplomacy: Hosting Leaders as Part of US Strategy to Counter China

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Biden Hosts Pacific Island Leaders in Charm Offensive Against China

President Joe Biden is set to host a second summit with Pacific island leaders as part of a strategic effort to counter China's influence in the region. During the three-day meeting, the United States will announce diplomatic recognition for two Pacific islands, pledge new funds for infrastructure development, including improving internet connectivity, and honor regional leaders at an NFL game. This summit follows an inaugural meeting held at the White House a year ago, and a subsequent plan to meet in Papua New Guinea in May, which was canceled due to a U.S. debt-ceiling crisis.

Focus on Key Priorities

This year's summit will prioritize various key areas, including climate change, economic growth, sustainable development, public health, and countering illegal fishing. The United States will also officially recognize the Cook Islands and Niue, two small nations, for the first time during the summit.

Challenges and Disappointments

However, the summit will be without the presence of Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who has strengthened ties with China. The U.S. expressed disappointment over Sogavare's decision, as Washington has made efforts to offer substantial infrastructure funding and expanded aid to the Solomons. The U.S. is also negotiating to open an embassy in Vanuatu, but its engagement with the nation, which is heavily reliant on China as its largest external creditor, has not significantly increased.

Regional Re-engagement and Concerns

While the U.S. has re-engaged with the Pacific island region by opening new embassies and USAID offices, Congress has yet to approve the necessary funds. Pacific island countries welcome the U.S. re-engagement, but they also express concerns about potential geopolitical tussles leading to increased militarization. In conclusion, President Biden's hosting of Pacific island leaders reflects a charm offensive aimed at countering China's growing influence in the region. The summit's focus on key priorities and the challenges faced in strengthening partnerships underscore the complex dynamics at play. The U.S. seeks to solidify its regional presence while addressing concerns and navigating geopolitical complexities.

Implications of Biden's Pacific Island Summit for New Businesses

President Joe Biden's upcoming summit with Pacific island leaders signals a strategic move to counter China's growing influence in the region. This move could have significant implications for new business formations, particularly those looking to establish or expand operations in the Pacific region.

Investment and Infrastructure Development

The three-day summit will see the United States pledging new funds for infrastructure development, including improving internet connectivity. This could potentially create opportunities for businesses in the tech and infrastructure sectors. However, the success of these ventures will depend on the approval of the necessary funds by Congress.

Geopolitical Complexities

The absence of Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare from the summit highlights the geopolitical complexities at play. Sogavare's decision to strengthen ties with China, coupled with the U.S.'s ongoing negotiations to open an embassy in Vanuatu, underscores the challenges new businesses may face in navigating these geopolitical dynamics.

Regional Re-engagement and Potential Militarization

While Pacific island countries welcome the U.S.'s re-engagement with the region, concerns about potential geopolitical tussles leading to increased militarization remain. Businesses looking to establish operations in the region will need to consider these concerns and the potential impact on their operations. In essence, Biden's Pacific island summit presents a complex landscape for new business formations. The strategic move to counter China's influence, the focus on infrastructure development, and the geopolitical complexities underscore the challenges and opportunities businesses may face in this region.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/24/biden-to-host-pacific-island-leaders-in-us-charm-offensive-vs-china.html
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