A leading US Senator has told the Island Times that America will stand with Palau.

The remarkable move comes amidst a tourism crisis linked to the strict enforcement of a ban on group tours to Palau by communist authorities in mainland China.

It is believed that the measures taken by the communist People`s Republic of China against Palau may be in retaliation for Palau´s decision to maintain diplomatic relations with the democratic, Taiwan-based Republic of China.

Ted Cruz is an influential Republican member of the US Senate representing Texas, and was the runner-up candidate in the 2016 Republican presidential primary elections ultimately won by real estate mogul, Donald J. Trump.

In a statement to the Island Times, Senator Cruz praised Palau`s defiance of China´s heavy-handed activists and vowed to stand with the allies of the United States. He stated “The United States should do whatever it takes to ensure that Communist China’s campaign to isolate Taiwan fails. I commend Palau for doing what’s right and standing up to China, which is trying to bully countries into choosing between China or American allies. We will stand with any nation that stands with Taiwan.”

Senator Cruz, whose father fled communist Cuba as a political refugee, has long been an outspoken critic of authoritarianism in the People`s Republic of China and a proponent of individual-liberty focused, staunchly conservative views.

China`s measures against group tourism to Palau sparked international controversy earlier this month after Palau`s top tourist airline, Palau Pacific Airways, suspended operations indefinitely and ended the lease on its sole air-plane, a Boing 737. Stricter enforcement of the ban on group tours is reported to have been a factor that contributed to the airline`s demise, among a range of other commercial factors. (Colin Cortbus)