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Montevideo, November 28th 2020 - 02:11 UTC

 

 

Palau in the Pacific urges US military to build bases to contain Beijing influence

Friday, September 4th 2020 - 08:15 UTC
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Palau President Tommy Remengesau revealed he told Esper, US military was welcome to build facilities in his country, an archipelago east of the Philippines. Palau President Tommy Remengesau revealed he told Esper, US military was welcome to build facilities in his country, an archipelago east of the Philippines.

The tiny Pacific nation of Palau has urged the United States military to build bases on its territory - which lies in a region where Washington is pushing back against growing Chinese influence.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper visited the island nation last week and accused Beijing of “ongoing destabilizing activities” in the Pacific.

Palau President Tommy Remengesau later revealed he told Esper the US military was welcome to build facilities in his country, an archipelago about 1,500km east of the Philippines.

“Palau's request to the US military remains simple - build joint-use facilities, then come and use them regularly,” he said in a letter to the US defense chief that his office released this week.

The note, addressed to Esper and marked “by hand delivery, Koror. Palau,” said the nation of 22,000 was open to hosting land bases, port facilities and airfields for the US military.

Remengesau also suggested a US Coast Guard presence in Palau to help patrol its vast marine reserve, which covers an area of ocean the size of Spain and is difficult for the tiny nation to monitor.

While Palau is an independent nation, it has no military and the US is responsible for its defense under an agreement with Washington called the Compact of Free Association.

Under the deal, the US military has access to the islands, although it currently has no troops permanently stationed there. In addition to its close US ties, Palau is also one of Taiwan's four remaining allies in the Pacific and only 15 worldwide.

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