WASHINGTON, 19 JUNE 2023 (KUAM NEWS) — Co-chair of the first Indo-Pacific Task Force hearing in Congress Delegate Gregorio Sablan hopes the new bipartisan body will successfully renew the financial provisions of the Compact of Free Association, which requires their approval to be enforced. 

“The financial provisions of the Compact are essential to our nation’s security posture in the Indo-Pacific region and will go a long way in countering adversarial nations gaining a foothold in the region — efforts that may have started already,” CNMI Delegate Gregorio Sablan said. 

That concerning foothold is held by China. Sablan, who co-chairs the task force with American Samoa Del. Amata Radewagen, questioned a panel of experts on the region about the Compact’s impact.

He asked, “How much do you think it would cost the U.S to secure this large swath of ocean without a Compact from all three island nations?”

Grant Newsham, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), responded, “…It is a huge cost to cover this terrain. It will be an ongoing recurring cost. You are going to have to put people in there, that is going to cost you money, and it is resources that do not go somewhere else, so you would be at…100 billion, I will just throw that out…”

Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia inked their renewal in May as the Marshall Islands continue negotiations amid concerns about radioactive waste disposal.  

California Rep. Katie Porter commented, “I think the U.S. taking greater responsibility for its nuclear testing program might help us get to a COFA agreement with the Marshall Islands.”

She added, “I am re-introducing legislation to formally apologize for the nuclear legacy of the U.S in the Marshall Islands and I would hope all members of this task force would consider signing on recognizing this is a real barrier to getting to the agreement with the Marshall Islands.”…PACNEWS

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *