Washington, D.C.—The Pacific Islands Embassy Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill aimed at countering the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) through increased American diplomacy in the Pacific is now law. The legislation establishes physical U.S. Embassies on the Pacific Island nations of the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Tonga, and authorizes expanded physical presence on Vanuatu to reinforce American leadership in the Pacific region.

This legislation was included as an amendment to the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. U.S. Congressmen Andy Barr (R-KY) and Ed Case (D-HI) introduced the bill in the House of Representatives.  U.S. Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT) was an original cosponsor and proponent of the bill in the House.  U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) were the Senate sponsors of the bill.  U.S. Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) were key supporters and voted for the legislation in the Senate.

“Expanding America’s diplomatic footprint in Asia is a simple but powerful way we can reaffirm our longstanding bilateral partnerships in the Pacific.  Strengthening our relationships in the Pacific will help counter the CCP’s predatory Belt and Road Initiative and show that the U.S. remains a partner of choice.  I thank all of my colleagues who supported this legislation,” said Congressman Barr.

“The Indo-Pacific is a region of active competition with China, and our Pacific Island partners are especially vulnerable to Chinese coercion. This legislation will strengthen our diplomatic presence in the region and signal our resolve to our partners and allies,” said Senator Young.   

“Strong U.S. diplomacy in the Pacific is essential. We brought Democrats and Republicans together to establish a robust physical diplomatic presence in these strategic island nations,” said Senator Ossoff.