The United States is committed to tackling the devastating impact of climate change in the Pacific region.

U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted this in a joint news conference after his meeting with Pacific leaders on Denarau Island over the weekend.

“As much as any other place in the world, these islands are ground zero for the devastating impact of climate change and I heard that so powerfully and eloquently from our colleagues,” Blinken said.

“It resonates not just as something that we think about but something that actually touches us here, because for so many of our partners here this is truly the existential issue of our times. “And we’re committed to tackling that challenge, to meeting it head on, to doing it together.”

Blinken said Pacific islanders were proud people and no matter their size, they alone should be able to choose their path.

The senior U.S government official said his country shared that belief and the world would be a more secure and prosperous place when core international principles like that were respected.

He also explained that the U.S has provided more than 700,000 vaccine doses to Pacific Island countries, including Fiji and they continued to work together to build Fiji’s capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to future health emergencies.

Meanwhile, when the USA signalled its intent to leave the Paris Agreement, we felt forgotten by a superpower, says acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

He noted this in his official statement after meeting with the U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his brief official state visit to Nadi over the weekend.

“So, of course, we welcomed President Biden’s promise to the world that America was back – Secretary, you being here shows that promise was more than words,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“We’ve just held the most historic and comprehensive meeting ever between Fiji and the USA and a wider meeting with our fellow Pacific leaders. We believe that both mark the start of a more direct partnership between Fiji and the USA and a new era for America in the Blue Frontier of the Pacific.”

Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji and its Pacific brothers need American might and its minds — as well as pioneering solutions and investments — here, at the shores of this Blue Frontier.

“That big, blue responsibility is linked to the wellbeing of every person on earth.

“Despite that, Fiji and our small state neighbours have felt, at times –– to borrow an American term –– like “fly-over” countries.

“Small dots spotted from plane windows of leaders en route to meetings where they spoke about us rather than with us, if they spoke of us at all.”

Secretary Blinken left for Hawaii straight after his meeting with the acting prime minister, cabinet ministers and a few representatives of the civil society organisations.