Tonga is just one stop on a tour of the Pacific by Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week. He is the latest in a parade of US diplomats to visit Oceania in the last year.
A pact on police cooperation is just one of several deals signed by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare this week during a trip to Beijing meant to upgrade the relationship between the two countries.
Beijing's hopes to developing a marine plan for fisheries holding police training fell short over some countries' concerns over increasing geopolitical tensions and threatening regional stability.
Australia was scrambling to counter the move by sending its own Foreign Minister Penny Wong to Fiji to shore up support in the Pacific.
The announcement comes amid concerns that other Pacific island countries financially weakened by the pandemic and its impact on tourism could be lured by China into similar deals.
A 29-year-old woman tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday during routine testing before boarding an international flight.
The Pacific Deterrence Initiative aims to beef up the military in the Pacific and work more closely with partners and allies. But some experts are cautious about inflating the Chinese threat.
The Navy assigned its 3rd and 7th fleets in the Western Pacific, as the United States shifts its focus to flashpoints in Asia.
There are only 30 of the small porpoise left, due to over-fishing in the waters of the Gulf of California. Efforts to save the vaquita have pitted environmentalists against fishermen.
Packed with nutrients, easy to grow and adaptable to local cuisines, this tropical superfood could bring more food and cash to poor farmers around the world.