Pacific leaders urge US to remove nuclear mess
Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:47AM
Pacific leaders issued the communiqué as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later Thursday arrived in the Cook Islands, a nation of 11,000 people with 15 islands and the recipient of significant Chinese aid, a move considered by many pundits to be aimed at countering China’s growing influence in the region.The US secretary of state attended the regional summit, started on August 27 and hosted by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), a group consisting of resource-rich Papua New Guinea and other small island states, along with Australia and New Zealand.
Commentators say the trip is aimed at curbing China’s growing influence among the region’s small island nations.Former New Zealand diplomat Michael Powles said the island states dropped off Washington’s radar many years ago as China had diplomatic ties with them. MSH/JR