Pacific News Minute: U.S. exchanges financial aid for security rights in the Indo-Pacific
The U.S. signed “memorandums of understanding” with the Marshall Islands and Palau earlier this month.
Administration officials hope they will lead to broader agreements that will govern the islands' relations with the U.S. for the next two decades.
Those ties grant the U.S. unique military and other security rights on the islands in return for a large amount of financial aid.
The Associated Press reports the administration believes that extending these “Compacts of Free Association” agreements will be key to maintaining American influence and holding off Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific.
The memorandums lay out the amounts of money that the federal government will pay to the two countries if their compacts are successfully renegotiated.
A memorandum is still being negotiated with Micronesia, the third compact country.
Islanders have long complained that previous compacts they signed did not adequately address their long-term environmental and health issues caused by U.S. nuclear testing in the 1950s and '60s.
China has been taking allies away from Taiwan in the Pacific, including Kiribati and the Solomon Islands in 2019.
The U.S. announced plans last year to reopen an embassy in the Solomons, which has signed a security agreement with China.