The group includes the United States, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and was launched in June…reports Asian Lite News
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken will host an event related to the ‘Blue Pacific’ group of countries at the United Nations on Thursday, Deputy Assistant to US President Joe Biden and White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said.
The group includes the United States, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and was launched in June, Reuters reported.
India has an observer status in the Blue Pacific Initiative, Campbell said in remarks at an event.
Campbell said that China in the last several years has sought to expand its military footprints in the Pacific region.
“In the last several years there is a more ambitious China that seeks to develop a footprint militarily (in the Pacifics). That has caused some anxiety with partners like Australia, New Zealand and even countries in the region as a whole. That is an added dimension to the circumstances,” Campbell said during Carnegie’s 2nd annual Indo-Pacific Islands dialogue in a session titled “U.S. View on Islands in the Indo-Pacific.
Terming the Pacific region “diverse” he said that the US need to gauge many parameters when it comes to the Pacific Islands including telecom, educational opportunity, enormous challenges of governance and businesses that have hurt.
At another session titled “Conversation — Fireside Chat–Developments in the Pacific: A View from Australia” Paul Myler, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Australia said that Australia’s position in the Pacific seems to be evolving and this is one of the most important priorities of the newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. “A huge emphasis on Pacific priorities is there in the face of increasing strategic contest.”
He talked about the Australian foreign minister Penny Wong’s visit to Pacific island forums which “shows her level of commitment on listening and partnership.”
Deputy Chief of Mission Myler also noted that Australia recognizes climate change as an existential threat. “Climate Change is also intertwined with security. Priorities are there for Infrastructure and Development for the Pacific. Getting over COVID will be important for a fiscal boost for Pacifics.”
We have to find a way to provide a fiscal support to Pacific island to get back on stable footing, he added.
He also laid emphasis over the Infrastructure that protects the economic sovereignty of Pacific Island Countries and urged that there should be transparency in the investment process. Foreign Minister Wong made very clear that we will not impose any unsustainable debt burdens on PICs and wanted to focus on staging infrastructure.
Moreover, speaking on the Indo-Pacfic he said that the region is Australia’s strategic environment. “Importance of the Indian Ocean region in trying to crystalize a sense of community is given.”
“At the time when the pacific step-up was happening, there was a lot of early work being done by our team at the time on Australia’s relationship with India. We have seen some really interesting resurgence of activities, and initiatives around climate as well.”
The Dialogue forum continues to highlight voices from island nations and examine the impact of issues like climate change, maritime security, and resilient infrastructure on the geopolitical landscape in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Key leaders from island nations, global scholars, and high-level security experts gathered to discuss how nations pursue their interests and respond to resulting security challenges in today’s increasingly complex world. (with inputs from ANI)