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Pacific News Minute: Micronesian nations want a visit from President Biden

Joe Biden
Patrick Semansky/AP
FILE - President Joe Biden walks on the South Lawn of the White House after stepping off Marine One, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The leaders of Kiribati, Palau, Nauru, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia issued a communique last week saying they had discussed President Biden's "value of a visit” for the Pacific sometime in the near future.

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said it had no travel to announce. U.S. officials involved in talks with Pacific island countries declined to comment.

Leaders of the Pacific Island Forum, a regional bloc of 18 nations, will meet in Fiji this week. Reuters reported that any invitation for a Biden visit would likely be agreed on and issued by the forum.

Biden is expected to travel to Australia in May to attend a summit of the so-called Quad group of the U.S., India, Australia and Japan. The Quad nations have been working together to push back against China.

Last year, the U.S. increased its diplomacy and aid to the Pacific region after China struck a security deal with the Solomon Islands.

Micronesia President David Panuelo said in a statement that a U.S.-Pacific islands summit would be important as the U.S. quote “continues to re-engage, as thoroughly as possible, with our Blue Pacific Continent."

Derrick Malama is the local anchor of Morning Edition.
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