Senior government and military officials from Japan and the United States on Sunday vowed to strengthen cooperation with the Solomon Islands amid increasing Chinese influence, as they gathered in the capital Honiara to mark the 80th anniversary of the World War II Battle of Guadalcanal.

The fierce battle between U.S. Marines and Imperial Japanese forces in 1942 over the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands spanned about six months and resulted in some 22,000 deaths among Japanese forces, many from starvation and disease. The Allied forces suffered some 1,600 casualties in the fighting, while thousands more also died of disease.

Among the senior figures from both countries who attended commemoration ceremonies in Honiara were Makoto Oniki, Japan's state minister of defense and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.