Palau said it needs better “financial and programmatic assistance” from the United States to build infrastructure and grow its economy.

In an address to the United States, General Assembly on Wednesday, State Minister Gustav Aitaro said that in the ongoing Compact of Free Association negotiations, the U.S. administration “proposed unacceptably inadequate assistance.”

“We need better financial and programmatic assistance and require these for the foreseeable future and for as long as free Association continues. But what we want most are governed measures and public and private investment to grow our economy,” Minister Aitaro said as he addressed world leaders at the UN in New York.

He said Palau’s economy had suffered especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and some he said can also be attributed to geopolitics. While the US and other allies have helped Palau achieve development, its economy has not grown.

“But our economy has not grown sufficiently and is fragile as demonstrated by contraction of more than 30% during the past five years.”

Aitaro said that the country is hopeful that the Compact renegotiations will meet Palau’s minimum needs and provide people “a decent standard of living without having to leave.” 

He also noted that Palau needs its allies like US, Japan, and Taiwan to fight the impacts of climate change.

Minister Aitaro also reiterates the calls to the UN to recognize Taiwan.

“I reiterate in the strongest terms that this body can demonstrate leadership to accepting Taiwan into the UN system as a valuable contributor to our collective efforts and promoting peace and collaborating on international matters,” he said.

Palau is one of the few nations in the Pacific that has diplomatic ties with Taiwan. 

“Most UN member states accept Taiwan passports, so too should the UN system recognize and incorporate the Taiwanese people and enrich this body with the benefits of their participation.” 

He said the UN core principle is to be inclusive.

The Taiwanese people are a part of the global community and an invaluable partner in combating climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic. With the many challenges facing our planet and people, we need every person including 23 million people of Taiwan.” 

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