US, Australia and allies form new Pacific Island partnership
Australia and New Zealand are racing to bolster ties with their Pacific neighbours after China shocked them in April by signing a security pact with the Solomon Islands.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi toured Pacific island nations in May.
Pacific nations will discuss issues around China’s growing interest in the region when leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum meet next month.
The Partners in the Blue Pacific pact will provide closer cooperation and provide more efficient support of Pacific islands’ priorities, according to the statement.
Other challenges include the COVID-19 pandemic and growing pressure on rules-based international order.