Biden to host summit with Pacific island nations this month
President Biden will host a summit later this month with leaders from Pacific island nations, the White House announced Friday.
The U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit will take place Sept. 28 and 29. The White House did not immediately provide a list of attendees, but said the gathering will focus on collaboration on climate change, the pandemic, economic recovery and “advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
“The Summit will demonstrate the United States’ deep and enduring partnership with Pacific Island countries and the Pacific region that is underpinned by shared history, values, and people-to-people ties,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
The summit comes as the Biden administration has sought to counter Chinese influence in the region by strengthening its ties with other nations in the Indo-Pacific. Biden traveled earlier this year to Japan and South Korea for meetings with leaders there.
Tensions in the Indo-Pacific have been high for years, but there is particular concern about potential Chinese aggression after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) visited Taiwan.
The U.S. has routinely warned China against making moves on Taiwan while insisting it maintains the “One China” policy that recognizes Beijing as the representative government of China but considers Taiwan’s status unsettled.
Biden said during his trip to Asia in May that the U.S. would come to Taiwan’s defense if China invaded, prompting an angry response from Beijing.