US plans to open embassy in South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. plans to open an embassy in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, the State Department said on Friday, as Washington seeks to counter China’s growing influence in the region.

“Consistent with the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy, a permanent diplomatic presence in Vanuatu would allow the U.S. Government to deepen relationships with Ni-Vanuatu officials and society,” the department said in a statement.

The U.S. currently has diplomatic relations with Vanuatu, which has a population of 319,000 spread across 80 islands, but does not have an embassy.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; editing by Kanishka Singh)

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