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Pacific News Minute: US sends Sherman, Kennedy on diplomatic visit to Solomon Islands

Wendy Sherman Deputy Secretary of State
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AP
FILE - Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman arrives at the Capitol as senators receive a briefing on the war in Ukraine, in Washington, March 30, 2022. The U.S. is sending a high-profile diplomatic delegation to visit the Solomon Islands led by Sherman and including Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Two United States officials, one of whom is the daughter of a former president, will visit the Solomon Islands this weekend where their fathers fought in World War II.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and U.S. Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal during their visit, which takes place Aug. 6 through 8.

Caroline Kennedy
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FILE - Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, speaks to attendees during the the 2022 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Awards ceremony, Sunday, May 22, 2022, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

A State Department official told Reuters they will meet with senior officials "to highlight the enduring relationship between the United States and the Solomon Islands."

Sherman will be the latest senior U.S. official to visit the Pacific region as Washington increases efforts to push back against Chinese diplomatic influence. Beijing has been seeking to boost economic, military and police links with Pacific nations hungry for foreign investment.

Kennedy’s father, the late president John F. Kennedy, took part in the Solomon Islands campaign as a Navy patrol boat captain in World War II.

Sherman’s father, Mal Sherman, was a founder of the United Nations Veterans League, which worked for world peace.

He was a Marine wounded at the Battle of Guadalcanal, which began between Allied forces and Japan in August 1942.

The battle marked the start of U.S.-led offensive operations in the Pacific, showing the strategic importance of the Solomons that continues today.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken in February announced plans to open an embassy in the Solomon Islands, calling the Pacific "the region for the future." Washington has yet to give a date for the opening of the embassy.

Derrick Malama is the local anchor of Morning Edition.
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