Biden to host Pacific island leaders in US charm offensive vs China
President Joe Biden will host a second summit with Pacific island leaders this week, part of a U.S. charm offensive to block further Chinese inroads into a strategic region Washington has long considered its own backyard.
During the three-day meeting, the U.S. will announce diplomatic recognition for two Pacific islands, promise new money for infrastructure, including to improve Internet connectivity via undersea cables, and honor regional leaders at an NFL game.
Biden held an inaugural summit with the islanders at the White House a year ago and was due to meet them again in Papua New Guinea in May. That plan was scrapped when a U.S. debt- ceiling crisis forced Biden to cut short an Asia trip.
At last year's summit with 14 Pacific island nations, Biden's administration pledged to help islanders fend off China's "economic coercion" and a joint declaration resolved to strengthen their partnership, saying they shared a vision for a region where "democracy will be able to flourish."