Traces of the United States' long and layered ties with the Pacific Islands are hard to find in Washington D.C. Apart from the names of iconic battles chiselled into the Washington Mall's second world war memorial, evidence of America's complex Pacific history stretching back to the beginning of the Republic is not there.
Until very recently, this absence was replicated throughout Washington's institutions, where the Pacific Islands have been at the back of mind since those epic battles were fought 80 years ago.
But over the past few months, things have changed. Responding to the increasing presence of China in the Pacific, most notably a security pact brokered with the Solomon Islands recently, Washington is now undergoing a Pacific re-discovery that goes all the way to the top. On 28-29 September, US President Joe Biden hosted Pacific leaders at the White House for the first-ever US-Pacific Island Country Summit, to demonstrate the United States' deep and enduring partnership with Pacific Island countries and the Pacific region [pictured: US Navy Hospital Ship USNS MERCY in Palau participating in Pacific Partnership, the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific].
What are the key takeaways from the Summit? How might the Biden administration reshape its approach to the region? What role does Australia have to play?
AIIA Victoria invites you to join Dr Patricia O'Brien to discuss the US's renewed geopolitical focus on the Pacific.
We gratefully acknowledge the Walter Mangold Trust Fund for its ongoing support of our young members.
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