(Provides quotes from Yun and particulars of talks with Pacific island nations, paragraphs 5-11)
WASHINGTON, July 20 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will host a second summit with leaders of Pacific island nations in September, Joseph Yun, the U.S. official accountable to negotiations with three key Pacific island states stated on Thursday.
U.S. officers have stated the summit is anticipated to happen across the time of the U.N. Common Meeting conferences in New York in September.
Biden’s nationwide safety adviser, Jake Sullivan, stated in Could Biden would organize one other summit of Pacific island leaders this yr after the frustration attributable to his cancellation of a go to to Papua New Guinea as a result of home debt ceiling disaster. Biden hosted a primary summit with the leaders final yr.
“He has dedicated (to) holding a second summit in September this yr,” Yun instructed an occasion hosted by the Heritage Basis assume tank.
Yun careworn the significance of the U.S. Congress approving new funding for the three Pacific Island nations he has been negotiating with by the top of the fiscal yr on Sept. 30, given China’s strategic ambitions within the area.
Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands all have what are often called Compacts of Free Affiliation (COFAs) with the US, below which the U.S. has accountability for his or her protection and offers financial help, whereas gaining unique entry to very large strategic swathes of the Pacific.
In Could, Yun stated he had finalized phrases with Micronesia and Palau to resume their COFAs and hoped accomplish that with the Marshall Islands in coming weeks.
Nevertheless, the international minister of the Marshall Islands referred to as final week for extra U.S. cash to cope with the legacy of large U.S. nuclear testing to allow the renewal of its settlement, the financial phrases of which expire on Sept. 30.
“I am very hopeful that we will attain an settlement in a fairly brief time – weeks,” Yun stated.
Below MOUs agreed this yr, the U.S. will commit a complete of $7.1 billion over 20 years to the three nations, topic to congressional approval.
Yun has proposed that Congress approve the whole quantity agreed within the MOUs by Sept. 30, even with no remaining settlement with the Marshall Islands, warning that it will be damaging to U.S. credibility and a giant blow for the islands if that didn’t occur. (Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Trevor Hunnicutt; Modifying by Stephen Coates)