Solomon Islands tells Pacific islands it won't sign White House summit declarati
The Solomon Islands has told Pacific nations invited to a White House meeting with President Joe Biden it won't sign the summit declaration, according to a note seen by Reuters, prompting concern over the islands' ties to China.
Leaders from the Pacific Island Forum bloc have been invited to the two-day White House summit starting Wednesday, at which the Biden administration seeks to compete with China for influence in the strategically important South Pacific.
The Solomon Islands, which struck a security pact with China in April, wrote to the Pacific Islands Forum and asked it to tell the other members it wouldn't sign a proposed Declaration on the U.S.-Pacific Partnership, to be discussed at the summit on Sept. 29, and needed more time for its parliament to consider the matter, according to the note dated Sunday.
Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo said on Tuesday in Washington that countries had been working on the summit declaration - "a vision statement" - that would cover five thematic areas, including human-centered development, tackling climate change, geopolitics and security of the Pacific region, commerce, and industry and trade ties.