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AUCKLAND, New Zealand (NiuFM News, July 4) - The U.S. wants to have a stronger presence in the Pacific but the most powerful Pacific person in Government there is challenging the White House and State Department officials to sharpen up its act....

Congressman Eni Faleomavaega says the White House will have to start showing more interest in the Pacific nations ... and their leaders... if it's serious about making an impact.

The chairman of the House of Representative's sub-committee on Asia Pacific and the global environment, says his Government will have to start earning those brownie points. (listen)

The US has bannered this the Year of the Pacific and has opened an office in Fiji from where it plans to oversee diplomacy in the region.

Faleomavaega agrees there's already a congestion of superpowers in the region with Australia and New Zealand plus China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan already jostling for position.

But he says the reason for the U.S. interest in the region is strategic.

Our controversial nuclear free issue is still a bone of contention when it comes to U.S. relations and Faleomavaega agrees that some adjustments will have to be made. (listen)

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