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US-Pacific Island Summit 2022

  • 03 Oct 2022
  • 3 min read

Why in News?

Recently, the US President hosted the first-ever U.S.- Pacific Island Country Summit in Washington, D.C, and announced USD 810 million in funding for Pacific Islands.

What were the Key Highlights of the Summit?

  • Expand US Presence: The announced USD 600 million will be in the form of a 10-year package to clean up and develop dirty waters to support the tuna industry, which will also expand climate and development aid and its diplomatic presence.
  • Countering China’s Aggressive Policy: China had made inroads in the strategic but sparsely populated region by asserting itself strongly in recent years in the pacific islands through investment, police training and, most controversially, a security pact with the Solomon Islands. Therefore, the US is re-engaging with the region that has been tied closely to it since World War II.
  • Forging Alliances: The US administration recently formed Partners in the Blue Pacific with Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Britain and further said that Canada and Germany will join and that France, itself a South Pacific power, as well as the European Union, South Korea and India would participate as non-members.

What are Pacific Island Countries?

  • About: The Pacific Island Countries are a cluster of 14 states which are located largely in the tropical zone of the Pacific Ocean between Asia, Australia and the Americas.
    • They include Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
  • Significance:
    • Largest Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs): The islands are divided on the basis of physical and human geography into three distinct parts — Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia.
      • Despite their small land area, the islands are spread out over a wide swath of the Pacific Ocean. Kiribati and FSM, have EEZs larger than that of India.
    • Economic Potential:
      • Large EEZs have a great deal of economic potential since they can be used to exploit the wealth of fisheries, energy, minerals, and other marine resources present there.
    • Potential Vote Bank: The 14 PICs, bound together by shared economic and security concerns, account for as many votes in the United Nations, and act as a potential vote bank for major powers to mobilise international opinion.

Source: TH

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