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Trump meets Pacific islands leaders to boost US ties

AFP  |  Washington 

has met at the with the leaders of the tiny, but strategic states of and other nations to underline the leading US role in the region.

The brief but symbolic meeting on Tuesday demonstrated US support at a time when is pushing back against expanding Chinese influence in the Pacific.

Trump hosted the presidents of Palau, the Federated States of and the Republic of the

After, they issued a joint statement to "jointly reaffirm our interest in a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region." "It is in our mutual interest that the remains an important and vibrant corridor for maritime trade," the statement said in a possible message to China, which is projecting naval power further into previously US-dominated waters.

A senior said "Trump has been directing an unprecedented level of focus on the Pacific Islands, in recognition of the fact that the is a Pacific nation, with immutable strategic, economic, cultural and people-to-people links in the islands."

The tiny countries, formed from sprawling but lightly populated archipelagos, have what are known as compacts of free association with the dating back to the aftermath of World War II.

pays much of their budgets and in return uses the territories as important links in a huge chain of military bases across the ocean.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 22 2019. 03:20 IST