21 Nov 2006

US summit with Pacific leaders considered by White House

5:20 pm on 21 November 2006

The United States Embassy in Wellington says proposals for President Bush to hold a meeting with South Pacific leaders next year is high on their agenda and will be considered seriously by the White House.


New Zealand's Prime Minister, Helen Clark, discussed the idea with the Mr Bush during the Apec meeting in Vietnam over the weekend.

The Embassy says the US has maintained an interest in the region.

But an expert on Asian Pacific relations, the Emeritus Professor of the University of the South Pacific, Ron Crocombe, believes American has mishandled its relations with Pacific leaders.

In contrast, he says China has skillfully moved into the Pacific on almost every dimension over the last thirty years.

"It's media, it's trade, it's aid, it's investment, it's culture, it's movement of people, it's the way they deal with leaders so it has now permeated right through the system."

Professor Crocombe says it is now a cold war sort of situation, with the US, Australia, Japan and New Zealand competing with China for influence in the region.