TEHRAN (Tasnim) - US President Joe Biden will host Pacific island leaders at the White House in September, a senior American diplomat said Saturday, deepening a regional charm offensive to counter growing Chinese influence.
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Visiting Tonga, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said the leaders would be invited to Washington for a meeting and dinner late in the month, AFP reported.
"This meeting will be a historic opportunity with the United States and Pacific islands countries to hear and listen, the Pacific way," Sherman said.
The move comes amid a flurry of US shuttle diplomacy looking to bolster alliances in the Pacific against a more assertive Beijing.
Washington has announced it will open a series of new diplomatic missions in the region, and has been more vocal and visible in recent months.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has visited and Vice President Kamala Harris recently made a landmark address to the Pacific Islands Forum.
On Saturday, Sherman will attend a series of events in the neighboring Solomon Islands, which is marking the 80th anniversary of World War II's Battle of Guadalcanal.
The Solomon Islands are at the center of a renewed South Pacific rivalry between Beijing and Washington.
China signed an undisclosed security pact with the island nation in April, alarming Western allies.
The deal is likely high on the agenda for the US visit.