Solomon Islands has signaled it won’t sign on to an 11-point declaration between the United States and Pacific Island nations this week, dealing a blow to the White House ahead of a high-profile presidential summit with Pacific leaders in Washington.
Washington and Pacific Island countries have spent recent weeks negotiating a new joint statement on the partnership between the US and the Pacific states.
The declaration is designed to provide a framework for intensified US engagement in the Pacific.
Washington is moving to ramp up its diplomatic, development, and commercial presence in the region, partly in response to China’s growing influence in several Pacific nations.
Some Pacific leaders have described the declaration as being “similar” in intent to a more sweeping trade and security deal that China unsuccessfully pursued with ten Pacific Island nations in May.