Palau’s office of the Vice President had revealed in a statement that China’s “presence and activities in the region” is among the agenda in the upcoming meeting of Micronesian leaders and United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia on August 5.

Palau will be represented by Vice President Raynold Oilouch in the meeting to tackle issues faced by the US allies in the region including the extension of the Compact of Free Association (COFA) agreement, economic development and investment, and the amendment of the REAL ID Act, among others.

Palau Ambassador to United States Hersey Kyota had also met with U.S. State Department Assistant Secretary for Asia and Pacific Affairs Nicholas Dean ahead of the Pompeo visit. Kyota informed the Vice President that the US will be open to entertain other issues that Palau wants to raise during the meeting.

The Vice President’s office had also said that Palau’s voting records in the United Nations will also be part of the discussion in the meeting. Leaders of the FSM and the Republic of Marshall Islands will also be part of the talks.

There had been various reports that China had been growing its influence in the Pacific by pouring in more economic assistance to Pacific island countries but this was rebutted by China’s President Xi Jinping who was quoted saying in a Reuters report that China has no “private interests in island countries, and do not seek a so-called ‘sphere of influence.’ (Rhealyn C. Pojas)