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Newsline: U.S. eyes ‘big dollar’ Pacific diplomacy in China contest

The United States will announce “big dollar” assistance to Pacific island nations when President Joe Biden hosts a first-of-its-kind summit with their leaders on Wednesday, a gathering Washington hopes will help counter China’s expanding influence in a new theater of geopolitical competition. (https://news.yahoo.com/u-vows-big-dollar-help-090306769.html) Leaders from 12 Pacific island states are expected to take part in a two-day summit in Washington, with two more sending representatives, and Australia and New Zealand attending as observers. White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said last week the summit would focus on addressing issues such as climate change and health and that Washington and its allies were focused on boosting maritime security and island states’ communications links with countries like Japan, Australia and India. The leaders will be feted all around Washington, including at the State Department, the U.S. Congress, Coast Guard headquarters, by business leaders, and at the White House. On Wednesday, Washington also will unveil a detailed new strategy specifically for the Pacific, a senior Biden administration official said. It will be the first time the United States has hosted so many leaders of a region it has considered it maritime backyard since World War Two, but into which China has been making steady advances. Some of the nations have complained about being caught in the middle of the superpowers’ battle for influence.

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