"The Pacific Islands region, also known as the South Pacific or Southwest Pacific, presents Congress with a diverse array of policy issues. It is a strategically important region with which the United States shares many interests with Australia and New Zealand. The region has attracted growing diplomatic and economic engagement from China, a potential competitor to the influence of the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Congress plays key roles in approving and overseeing the administration of the Compacts of Free Association that govern U.S. relations with the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau. The United States has economic interests in the region, particularly fishing, and provides about $38 million annually in bilateral and regional foreign assistance, not including Compact grant assistance. This report provides background on the Pacific Islands region and discusses related issues for Congress. It discusses U.S. relations with Pacific Island countries as well as the influence of other powers in the region, including Australia, China, and other external actors. It includes sections on U.S. foreign assistance to the region, the Compacts of Free Association, and issues related to climate change, which has impacted many Pacific Island countries. The report does not focus on U.S. territories in the Pacific, such as Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa."
CRS Report for Congress, R44753
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html