The US Embassy reported that a planned landing of two-hundred Marines and Navy personnel on Peleliu was cancelled in the beginning of the month, following a complaint from the Peleliu Government to the National Government about a lack of dissemination of “sensitive and unclassified” information.
The Embassy reported that the exercise, which was originally scheduled for March 1 or 2, was cancelled by the United States Navy, and no personnel went ashore on Peleliu. The exercise was scheduled as part of a maritime defense exercise which took place between February and March.
In a letter addressed to Vice President and Minister of State Uduch Sengebau Senior, Peleliu Governor Temmy Shmull expressed “deep concerns and disappointment” that information which was shared regarding the planned military exercise on Peleliu between the US Embassy and the Ministry of State (MOS), as well as the Office of the President, on February 10 was never forwarded to Peleliu State Government. According to the letter, the diplomatic note sent to the MOS described planned exercises involving aircraft overflights, unmanned aerial system operations, and a possible amphibious landing exercise, including associated reconnaissance activities. Governor Shmull stressed that he did not learn of the planned exercise until February 23, in a telephone conversation with Major Matthew Gamble See of the US Embassy, who informed the Governor that two-hundred military personnel would be landing on Peleliu for twelve hours.
Governor Shmull expressed his “concern about the health and safety of our people”, stating that “the negative impact of their surprise visit to our island state is overwhelming”.
“The presence of 200 US Marines and Navy is equal to almost half of the population of Peleliu,” the letter states.
While the amphibious landing was cancelled, the Navy continued to undertake military defense, surveillance, and disaster-management exercises in the waters close to Peleliu.
The US Navy Exercise follows Cope North, an annual exercise by the US Air Force which took place in February this year at Palau International Airstrip and Angaur Airstrip.
US Ambassador John Hennessey-Niland previously said that the maritime-focused exercise was part of a “team effort” among the US and its allies to “provide for the defense and security of our allies”. He stressed that US exercises in Palau, which include Navy, Air Force, and Army exercises, cover “all domains: air, land, sea, maybe even cyber in the future”.

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1 Comment

  1. A State’s recognition should be honored no matter where in Palau. This is not the first time Peleliu has experienced a lack of consultation. I agree with the Governor’s objection, the U.S. should know better.

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