Democratic countries are proposing a new Pacific-wide pact to strengthen cooperation and development efforts in the region to combat Beijing’s influence building and hybrid warfare operations.
The “Partners in the Blue Pacific” would involve the United States, Australia, France, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom to provide “closer, more purposeful, and more ambitious cooperation.”
“Too often, our efforts have been uncoordinated, creating duplication in some cases and gaps on the others,” according to a concept note about the pact. The partnership was earmarked by U.S. Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell at a Center for Strategic and International Studies meeting on June 23.
The program would look at strengthening the Pacific Islands Forum, facilitate regular engagement and dialogue between partners, and map existing projects and coordinate future ones to avoid “lost opportunities.”
The development of the Partners in the Blue Pacific will come in close consultation with Pacific leaders and will target areas such as climate change, maritime security (China’s illegal fishing fleet), health, education, and providing better access to infrastructure.