The Straits Times
Published on Sep 01, 2012

Clinton says Pacific big enough for US, China


AVARUA, Cook Islands (AFP) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed on Friday the United States (US) would remain active in the South Pacific for the "long haul" but said the region was big enough for a rising China.

Mrs Clinton announced some US$32 million (S$40.1 million) in new aid projects as she became the first US secretary of state to take part in an annual South Pacific summit, in a sign of renewed interest in the vast but often overlooked region.

Mrs Clinton's visit comes as many islands forge closer ties with China, which according to Australia's Lowy Institute has pledged more than US$600 million in low-interest and mostly strings-free loans to the South Pacific since 2005.

Mrs Clinton, who will visit Beijing next week for talks on the often fractious relationship between the world's two largest economies, played down rivalries in the South Pacific.