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Newsline: U.S. Senior Diplomat Meets Samoa, Tonga leaders

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with leaders in Samoa and Tonga on Friday, discussing climate change, ocean security and opportunities to work together as Washington seeks to re-engage with the region amid concerns about growing Chinese influence. The senior U.S. diplomat’s visit is part of a multi-leg trip to Pacific nations. Sherman was in the region to listen and learn, she told a news conference, and her meeting with Samoan Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa had been productive. “Our two countries share a commitment to important democratic values, including respect for human rights, a commitment to protecting freedom of expression, and freedom of religion or belief and a strong belief in the importance of a free and open press,” said Sherman. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-08-04/u-s-senior-diplomat-kicks-off-pacific-tour-in-samoa) Several U.S. senior diplomats have visited the South Pacific this year as geostrategic competition in the region grows. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Samoa and Tonga in May, followed by Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong in early June.

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