U.S Secretary of State John Kerry has used a speech at the end of his Asia-Pacific tour to set a new broader agenda for U.S relations with the region.
Kerry addressed an audience at the East West Center in Hawaii at the end of his five-day visit to Myanmar, Australia and Solomon Islands.
He sought to take the focus off the US strategic rivalry with China and place it instead on the role of cooperation in the region, ranging from economic issues to climate change and human rights.
Pacific Islands News Association reports, in his speech, Kerry outlined four key opportunities; creating sustainable economic growth, powering a clean energy revolution, promoting regional cooperation, and empowering people.
He identified climate change as the biggest challenge to the region, but says low carbon energy policy offers a solution.
Crucial to this US strategy on economic growth are negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership ,TPP, which Kerry says are key to the region.
Pacific Island nations are not a part of the TPP negotiations, but with many Pacific nations already being affected by rising sea levels – among other effects of climate change – they will likely welcome Washington’s focus on the issue.
Kerry says among countries on his itinerary, Solomon Islands, is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.