He also released his Pacific Partnership Strategy, which promises to help them fight climate change, support their security, and rebuff China's "economic coercion." He said security in the Pacific is "critical as ever" -- for the islanders themselves, for the US, and for the rest of the world.
The US plans to open embassies in the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Kiribati. Officials announced additional aid of more than 800 million dollars.
Some leaders in the region, however, have been resistant.
Earlier this year, the Solomon Islands signed a security pact with China, strengthening cooperation in trade and education.
Last week, the Marshall Islands pulled out of talks with US negotiators over a strategic partnership. It raised US testing of nuclear weapons in the territory during the 1940s and 50s. It said the Americans failed to address the damages to their health, environment, and economy.