Diplomatic Relations Established Between US, Cook Islands, and Niue



The US has formally recognised the Cook Islands and Niue, as part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to counter China’s rising influence in the Indo-Pacific region. This comes as part of the administration’s broader initiative to engage with Pacific Island nations. In addition, Biden is expected to announce new infrastructure funding for Pacific Island partner nations and a $10 million investment from the Quad partnership to improve maritime domain awareness in the Pacific.

US Establishes Diplomatic Ties with Pacific Island Nations

The US has officially established diplomatic relations with the Cook Islands and Niue, marking the first time these Pacific Island nations are recognized. This move is part of President Joe Biden’s strategy to strengthen the US presence in the Indo-Pacific region and counter China’s rising influence.

Biden Acknowledges Niue’s Critical Role in Pacific

Biden acknowledged Niue’s essential role in supporting the Pacific region’s sustainable development, security, and marine protection. The recognition will enable the US to deepen cooperation on challenges such as the climate crisis, maritime borders and resources protection, sustainable economic growth, and maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Enhancing Partnership with the Cook Islands

The diplomatic recognition of the Cook Islands will serve to expand the scope of the enduring partnership between the two entities. The focus lies on countering illegal fishing, combating climate change, building inclusive economic growth, and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Infrastructure Funding for Pacific Island Nations

Biden plans to unveil new infrastructure funding for Pacific Island partner nations. He will also announce a $10 million investment through the Quad partnership to enhance maritime domain awareness in the Pacific.

Biden to Host Pacific Island Forum Leaders

Leaders of the Pacific Island Forum, comprising 17 nations including New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, and Samoa, will be hosted by Biden for a summit and working lunch. The meeting will also include a roundtable discussion with special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry, and an evening dinner hosted by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

New Diplomatic Relations Celebration

The reception will serve to celebrate the official establishment of diplomatic ties with the Cook Islands and Niue. Additional announcements are expected, including steps to provide secure undersea cable connectivity for Pacific Island nations, enhancing internet speed and reliability in these regions.

Quad Partnership’s Role

The Quad partnership, consisting of Australia, India, Japan, and the US, plans to expand the Maritime Domain Awareness Initiative to the Pacific region with a $10 million investment to bolster maritime domain awareness, amidst increasing tensions with China.

Focus on Building Robust Pacific Relationships

Despite the geopolitical dynamics, the primary focus will be on fostering robust relationships with Pacific Island nations. As one official stated, the US believes its national interests align with a free and vibrant Pacific region and that the US, as a Pacific power, is here to stay.

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