President Tommy Remengesau Jr. said Palau would need allies to develop its economy, and politicians are giving the public false hopes on a promise of economic self-sufficiency
In an interview on Friday, following the short visit of United Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Remengesau said Palau development opportunities will expand with bigger nations on their side.
“I said at the ground breaking, you can talk about being economically self-sufficient, that’s always a good goal, but don’t give too many false hopes to the people, because it’s not going to happen during our lifetime. We are going to depend on friendship, and generosity, and grants,”
He said no country can leave by their own resources alone and partnership with other nations is essential for survival.
“If someone running for president would tell me and make Palau self-sufficient in four years or eight years, I am going to tell him, I am sorry, you can only do that in heaven, because only in heaven where everything is self-sufficient<‘ he said.
Remengesau said Palau can continue to improve its economy but it can also improve its friendship with economic superpowers such as the U.S. , Japan, Taiwan, or Korea
He said strong alliances combined with diversification of the economy could be key to growth opportunities in the future.
Pacific islands is one of the most aid-dependent regions in the world, Palau’s economy is dependent on the economic provisions of the Compact.
During Sec. Esper’s visit in Palau, Remengesau highlighted the need for its closest ally presence in the region especially during the time of COVID-19 crisis.
“[There is a] need for the US to provide more direct assistance to Palau, so that we can survive this critical period,” President Remengesau Jr said.
Negotiations to renew the economic package of the Compact of Free Association have started with the U.S. wanting to conclude the deal by the end of the year.