“We also have to rebuild the island economies and livelihoods that have been ravaged by the loss of tourism and the skyrocketing cost of imports. The United States is committed to helping you recover and doing so in a way that’s sustainable and inclusive.”

U. S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, in a video message to the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders of nations and territories across the Pacific. The group gathered virtually for a private meeting on June 1 and 2. The group included leaders or representatives from Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands, as well as Hawaii, Fiji, French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Niue and the Solomon Islands. The conference unanimously elected President David W. Panuelo of the FSM as its chairperson. The meetings aimed “to recommit a new group of Pacific Island leaders,” according to the Pacific Islands Development Program at the East-West Center in Honolulu, which hosted the meeting, and released the above information.