National flags for the Pacific Islands. AP/21080603
New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom have joined the United States in an initiative titled “Partners in the Blue Pacific” which has the goal of improved cooperation in the Pacific region.
The announcement was made a week ago.
Cook Islands Secretary of Foreign Affairs and
Immigration Tepaeru Herrmann said the aspirations of the initiative was noted
by the Cook Islands.
“Time will tell what if any benefits accrue to the
Cook Islands and Pacific Islands Countries from the PBP (Partners in the Blue
Herrmann said a first step for the US and UK would
be to formalise diplomatic relations with the Cook Islands.
“We look forward to working with both governments,
through their respective missions in Wellington, to quickly advancing the establishment
of diplomatic relations in the very near future,” Herrmann said.
A statement out of the White House said the Partners
in the Blue Pacific aimed to deliver results to the Pacific more effectively
and efficiently, bolster Pacific regionalism and expand opportunities with the
However, experts have said the move was a
“desperate” attempt to curb China’s influence in the region.
Speaking to Stuff, director of Canterbury
University’s Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, Professor Steven
Ratuva said: “It looks like the US is pretty desperate at the moment, to join
Ratuva said the moves from the US was not unexpected because the country would have been watching what was happening in the Pacific with the growth of Chinese influence.