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US Special Envoy Joseph Yun to visit Marshall Islands

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US Special Envoy Joseph Yun to visit Marshall Islands

US Special Envoy Joseph Yun will visit the Marshall Islands today
US Special Envoy Joseph Yun will visit the Marshall Islands today
US Special Envoy Joseph Yun will visit the Marshall Islands today – Photo: AP/Yonhap

US President Joseph Biden’s Special Envoy to the Freely Associated States Joseph Yun will arrive in the Marshall Islands today for a three-day visit. Yun’s visit is in an attempt to strengthen the U.S. foothold in the Pacific.

The visit follows the recently agreed security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands, a source of concern for Biden. Yun will seek to strengthen relations with the Marshall Islands and to limit potential Chinese influence. As part of this agenda, negotiations are likely to start on whether to renew an agreement on economic assistance to the island nation by the U.S., which is set to expire next year.

Expect China to continue expanding its military presence in the Pacific, with the establishment of a permeant military base in the region a possibility in the coming years. Still, Pacific nations are likely to weigh their options, now that the U.S. and its allies have a renewed interest in keeping China out, likely by offering economic incentives and security guarantees. Another attempt by China to conclude a security agreement with ten Pacific island nations last month failed, but Beijing will likely succeed in strengthening bilateral relations with at least a few Pacific countries. Expect many more visits by envoys and senior officials to the region by both the U.S. and China in the coming months, as the two superpowers vie for influence.

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