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Pacific News Minute: Palau designated by the Pentagon as the possible site of a new military base

Climate Pacific Islands
Itsuo Inouye/AP
FILE - This June 20, 2009, file photo shows the Palau Capital building in Melekeok, Palau. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File)

The Republic of Palau is among several Pacific countries designated by the Pentagon as the possible site of a new military base.

The Department of Defense plans to build a $197 million tactical radar system for Palau, which hosted U.S. military training exercises in 2021.

The Pacific Island Times reports the proposed radar is aimed at spotting air and surface targets.

Palau is a member of the Compact of Free Association, or COFA, an international agreement governing its relationship with the U.S. The Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands are also members of COFA.

Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicholson is the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's senior military official for Palau. He hosted a Joint Committee Meeting, or JCM, in December in Koror, the nation’s former capital.

Nicholson highlighted the critical importance of JCMs, which take place twice a year, as an important part of the Compact of Free Association.

The funds of the compact between the U.S. and Palau are scheduled to expire in 2024.

Derrick Malama is the local anchor of Morning Edition.
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