US works at ‘people ties’ with Pacific

US Deputy Assistant Secretary and Ambassador for APEC Matthew J. Matthews. Picture: CNA

CALLING the Pacific Islands of ‘critical importance’ to the United States, a high ranking government official today revealed plans to enhance ties with the region.

Speaking frankly about American concern for security in the region and growing Chinese influence here, US Deputy Assistant Secretary and Ambassador for APEC Matthew J. Matthews said his government was working to achieve its goals.

The goals include keeping the region, free, he said.

“We are in the process of enhancing our security, economic, and people-to-people’s ties with the Pacific islands and we’re working to ensure that the Pacific remains a free and open architecture that allows for a rapid and effective development for all peoples in the region,” Ambassador Matthews said.

“As an Indo-Pacific nation ourselves, the United States is inextricably linked to the region and remains as committed as ever to our shared security and prosperity.”

Ambassador Mathews was speaking from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea at a press tele-conference with Pacific journalists across the region, including Fiji Times Online.

“We’re seeking to respect across the region sovereignty, the rule of law, free and fair reciprocal trading frameworks, freedom of navigation and private sector-led development,” he said.

“It is kind of a core set of values that we try to inject into the process of keeping this a dynamic region.”

Ambassador Mathews is in PNG attending the 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) .