Home News The US calls for ratification of Pacific island treaties

The US calls for ratification of Pacific island treaties

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Congress must swiftly pass legislation to implement strategic pacts with Pacific Island nations and counter Chinese aggression towards the Philippines, US House representatives from Guam and Hawaii told the foreign affairs committee on Friday.

On Thursday night, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced a joint resolution to implement deals that President Joe Biden’s administration recently concluded with the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau.

The agreements, collectively known as the Compacts of Free Association (Cofa), grant the US military access to the land, air and sea of the three countries in exchange for economic help and migration rights for those countries’ citizens for 20 years at a time . Though the deals began in the 1980s, they have become part of the US government’s strategy to counter China’s influence efforts in the Indo-Pacific.

The growing influence of China in the Pacific Islands has raised concerns about regional stability and the preservation of US interests in the area. In response to these concerns, there is a pressing need for the US Congress to approve Pacific Island pacts that can serve as effective countermeasures to Chinese influence.

China has significantly expanded its presence in the Pacific Islands through economic investments, infrastructure development, and diplomatic engagement. This has allowed China to gain strategic leverage and exert influence over these nations, posing challenges to the United States’ long-standing presence in the region. It is crucial for the US to act promptly and strategically to address this issue.

These Pacific Island pacts aim to strengthen ties between the United States and the countries in the region. They would facilitate closer cooperation in areas such as trade, security, and development. By approving these agreements, the US can enhance its engagement with Pacific Island nations and provide alternative options for economic development, infrastructure projects, and capacity-building initiatives.

One key aspect of these pacts is to offer Pacific Island countries a viable alternative to China’s financial assistance. China’s investment activities often come with strings attached, leading to debts that burden the recipient nations and potentially compromising their sovereignty. The US, on the other hand, can provide transparent and sustainable financing options that prioritize the long-term interests and development of these nations.

Moreover, by approving these pacts, the US can reinforce its commitment to the region and counter Chinese geopolitical ambitions. It sends a clear message that the United States remains a reliable and steadfast partner in the Pacific Islands, dedicated to preserving the rules-based order and upholding the principles of democratic governance and respect for human rights.

The US Congress plays a crucial role in these efforts. It has the power to approve and ratify these pacts, ensuring their implementation and effectiveness. Additionally, Congress can allocate the necessary resources to support the initiatives outlined in the agreements, enabling the United States to effectively counter Chinese influence and consolidate its position in the Pacific Islands.

The approval of these pacts would also serve as a demonstration of solidarity with Pacific Island nations, signaling that the United States recognizes their significance and is committed to addressing their unique challenges. This cooperative approach fosters a sense of regional unity, reinforcing shared values and mutual interests.

In conclusion, the US Congress must seize the opportunity to approve these Pacific Island pacts. By doing so, the United States can actively counter Chinese influence, provide viable alternatives to Chinese investments, and strengthen regional ties. Approving these pacts will demonstrate the United States’ commitment to the Pacific Islands and ensure the preservation of American interests in the region.

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