The Pacific Islands region spans nearly 15 percent of the Earth’s surface — part of an “ocean continent” eight times the size of the United States. Within it are nations and territories, with rich diversity of people and the environment they steward. The Pacific Islands region connects the United States with the broader Indo-Pacific; the nations and territories of the Pacific Islands are our friends, relatives, and close neighbors – two
million U.S. citizens call the Pacific Islands home.
Geography links the region’s future to our own: U.S. prosperity and security depend on the Pacific region remaining free and open. For decades, the United States and the Pacific Islands have worked together to realize that vision, from the Solomon Islanders who built airstrips side by side with American and Allied troops in World War II, to the Fijian ship-riders who sail with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and U.S. Navy today. Upon this foundation of peace, the Pacific Islands have grown their economies; built the Pacific
Islands Forum (PIF), a critical driver of regional action; protected and sustainably managed the Blue Pacific environment, which is vital to global health, commerce, stability, and security; and contributed internationally as leading advocates for accelerated action to combat the climate crisis.
Even so, the region faces urgent challenges. Most of all, the climate crisis is the region’s top security concern, bringing rising seas, stronger and more frequent storms, warmer oceans, and severe, imminent threats to people in the Pacific and the Pacific way of life. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is pervasive throughout the region, damaging the marine environment and depriving Pacific islanders of livelihoods, food, and economic security. COVID-19 halted tourism, which is struggling to rebound, and
vector-borne diseases outbreaks continue to threaten the area.
Meanwhile, as the PIF stated in its 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent: “We occupy a vitally significant place in global strategic terms. As a consequence, heightened geopolitical competition impacts our Member countries.” Increasingly, those impacts include pressure and economic coercion by the People’s Republic of China, which risks undermining the peace, prosperity, and security of the region, and by extension, of the United States.
These challenges demand renewed U.S. engagement across the full Pacific Islands region. To that end, President Biden is elevating broader and deeper engagement with the Pacific Islands as a priority of U.S. foreign policy. This national strategy – the first-ever from the U.S. government dedicated to the Pacific Islands – both reflects and advances that commitment.
DOWNLOAD FULL DOCUMENT HERE: Pacific-Partnership-Strategy.pdf (whitehouse.gov)