President Surangel Whipps Jr.

President Surangel Whipps Jr. said that the United States military presence here could deter unauthorized maritime incursions. 

In late November, a Chinese survey vessel Da Yang Hao was observed north of Kayangel State within Palau waters, without proper authorization by the Palau government.

“I think we do know about Chinese vessels that were visiting us and agree, you know, presence is also determined. So maybe if there were more active participation, Chinese vessels would not be frequenting in our EEZ,” Whipps told reporters last week.

US Rear Admiral Benjamin Nicholson, the Joint Region Marianas commander in Palau to represent the US in a recent Joint Committee Meeting here in early December, said the two countries’ partnership results in the joint investigation of the collaborative inquiry alleged incursion.

 “I think it’s important to understand that that research vessel, once again, shows how some nations will ignore international laws and norms. In this case, the UN provisions about the EEZ, it’s okay for vessels to enter and transmit through another country’s easy, but there have to be proper notifications,” Admiral Nicholson said, 

Nicholson said the US and Palau partnership is crucial in ensuring that EEZs are protected from “bad actors.”

But we see this, unfortunately, from some bad actors in a number of places where they’re either looking for minerals, or they’re looking for something else, or, you know, potentially fishing as an issue, “Nicholson said,

 “So I think together with the international community, it’s very important for us to come together and to stand up to this sort of thing and call them out when they do these things that are quite frankly, illegal. We need to call that out to the international community to make sure that everyone knows this, these sort of things won’t be tolerated,” Admiral Nicholson added, 

President Whipps said the US and Palau will continue to work together beyond 2022, with radar system installation about to commence.

He also said the presence of the military personnel here bring in needed tourism and infrastructure projects ( B. Carreon) 

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