The policies of the region's traditionally dominant nations, Australia and New Zealand, hugely affect the island economies, especially on trade, and could leave the region open to further international influence especially from China.

Partly as a result of China expanding its activities from the western Pacific to the Indian Ocean, the US has developed an Indo-Pacific strategy to meet its own geopolitical and foreign policy objectives especially with key allies such as India and Japan.

This has led to Pacific Island leaders endorsing a new and expanded concept of regional security with a particular emphasis on human security, environmental and resource security, transnational crime and cybersecurity.