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US Aims For ‘Top Line’ Deal On Aid To Three Pacific Island Countries

The United States hopes to reach agreement on “top line” numbers for assis­tance to three Pacific island coun­tries by the year’s end, a State Department official told Reuters, part of negotiations critical to shoring up US strategic interests in a region courted by China.
12 Dec 2022 18:15
US Aims For ‘Top Line’ Deal On Aid To Three Pacific Island Countries
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Micronesia’s President David Panuelo, Palau President Surangel Whipps and Marshall Islands President David Kabua.

The United States hopes to reach agreement on “top line” numbers for assis­tance to three Pacific island coun­tries by the year’s end, a State Department official told Reuters, part of negotiations critical to shoring up US strategic interests in a region courted by China.

The Marshall Islands, the Feder­ated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Palau are sovereign nations that agreed Compacts of Free As­sociation, or COFAs, in the 1980s, under which the United States re­tained responsibility for their de­fence and exclusive access to huge swaths of the Pacific.

COFA provisions will expire in 2023 for the Marshall Islands and FSM, and in 2024 for Palau and though the island nations still en­joy close ties to Washington, critics warn that a failure to reach new terms for economic aid could spur them to look to China for funding or increased trade and tourism.

 

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Story By: RNZ

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