The US Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite made a historic visit to Palau yesterday, following shortly after another historic visit by the US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in August.
In a statement to the press, President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. said the visits highlights the special relationship between the two countries.
For Palau to have received within short period of time US Secretary of Defense and US Secretary of the Navy, “says a lot about this special relationship”, stated Remengesau.
“This is a very important part of this visit, to show to our people, and to show to our region and to the world that United States also have small brothers and sisters that can also be relied upon as we face the uncertain times and future of the international family of nations.”
Secretary of the Navy Braithwaite attested that his visit was to ensure that “Palau understands United States commitment to the security of the region and our commitment to the freedom of navigation and the seas surrounding Palau and the vested interest of the United States navy and marine corps to be here to support Palau.”
The discussions echoed statements made earlier during Secretary of Defense Esper’s visit about the ongoing Compact negotiations and the “mutual interests and desires” expressed by President Remengesau.
During Secretary of Defense Esper’s visit, Remengesau had requested a more engaged and active relationship between the United States military and Palau such as more frequent US military R&Rs, exercises as well as developing key infrastructures for joint use of both countries.
The Secretary of the Navy Braithwaite’s visit included a visit to Palau’s Marine Law Office in Malakal. The day before, USS Comstock, a landing ship of the US Navy arrived with 2 Mark VI patrol boats. According to the US Embassy, the navy ship is meant to patrol and to establish a stronger US presence in Palau’s exclusive economic zone, and to transport one or two Mark VI patrol boats, along with an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team.