US ‘welcome to become true Pacific power’

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama meets US President Joe Biden at the White House, Washington DC. Picture: TWITTER

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama highlighted the United States position in the Pacific when asked by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to make a few comments at the start of the first ever US-Pacific Island Countries Summit in Washington on Thursday.

“The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) family welcomes this opportunity to set the USA towards becoming the true Pacific power it can become,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“We saw this when both President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the forum leaders, we see it today and of course we will see it in the next couple of days through the engagements.”

Mr Bainimarama, however, did not play down the significance of Pacific island countries (PICs) leaders meeting with President Joe Biden and other high-level US officials.

“This coming week will be the most significant engagement between the Pacific Islands Forum and the United States in a generation. The fact that Pacific leaders will be sharing a room with the US president and the entire achinery of the US government tells us how far we have come.”

While Mr Blinken had touched on a roadmap for a 21st-Century US-Pacific Island Partnership, Mr Bainimarama gave an insight into what PIF leaders were hoping for.

“We look forward to working with the United States to better integrate our economies, improve flows of trade, strengthen our educational links, increase two-way tourism and exchange and link our cultural institutions,
and better link our schools and community organisations.”

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