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U.S. to launch multilateral initiative to engage with Pacific islands 

Kyodo News reported that White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said Thursday that the United States plans to launch an initiative next week to step up engagement with Pacific islands by working with like-minded countries amid growing concerns over China’s increasing clout in the region. Campbell reportedly said at an online event hosted by the Center for a New American Security that the initiative is intended to ensure that the United States, along with other countries including Australia, Britain, France, Japan, and New Zealand, can push for the Pacific environment to remain “open” and “free from coercion.” Kyodo wrote that the remarks came as China seeks to bolster its influence on Pacific island states, such as by signing a security pact with the Solomon Islands that would reportedly allow the deployment of Chinese police, military, and other armed personnel, as well as the docking of Chinese military ships at the islands. 

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