In Fiji:

September 29, 2022, 2:32 pm
Fiji News, World

US-Pacific summit: Wrangling over joint declaration

Story By: FIJI TV Team

A draft joint declaration being negotiated by the United States and Pacific Island countries has seen wrangling over its contents.

The draft condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine, flags intensifying American security cooperation with the region and declares climate change is the "highest priority" and "single greatest existential threat" to the Pacific.

But Pacific nations are reported to have tossed out criticism of the contentious security agreement signed by China and Solomon Islands.

East-West Center President Suzanne Puanani Vares-Lum (L) speaks alongside US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the US-Pacific Island Country Summit at the State Department in Washington, DC, September 28, 2022. (Photo by Kevin Wolf / POOL / AFP)

East-West Center President Suzanne Puanani Vares-Lum (L) speaks alongside US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the US-Pacific Island Country Summit at the State Department in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP/Kevin Wolf

They have removed a commitment that Pacific Island states would consult with each other before committing to a security deal that has regional impacts.

The leaders and representatives from 14 Pacific states are in Washington for two days of talks, which will culminate in dinner with President Joe Biden at the White House.

The Biden administration has flagged it will launch a new Pacific strategy to ensure all US government agencies are working together effectively in the region.

The joint statement being negotiated by the U.S and the Pacific covers climate change, security, illegal fishing, the legacy of nuclear testing and the economic recovery from Covid-19.

Solomon Islands has already said it will not join the declaration this week, saying it needs more time to consider the document.

Source - Radio NZ