[Pacific Daily News] FSM resolution proposes to end Compact agreement with U.S.
Migration to Guam, U.S. defense implications at stake as FSM cozies up to China
A resolution introduced recently in the Federated States of Micronesia’s Congress seeks to terminate the FSM’s ties with the United States, through their Compact agreement, no later than two years from now.
If the FSM Congress and president do move ahead and decide that the island nation should sever ties with the United States by 2018, it could hasten the exodus of FSM citizens from the island nation to Guam and other U.S. jurisdictions.
The Compact of Free Association allows FSM citizens to enter the United States without the need for travel visas, and Guam has become their top destination of choice.
Guam’s delegation to this week’s Association of Pacific Island Legislatures meeting in Kosrae state, in the FSM, found out about the efforts by some elected congressional officials of the FSM to end the Compact sooner than the 2023 date to renegotiate the agreement.
Guam already is seeing a rising number of migrants from the FSM. Gov. Eddie Calvo has told the federal government that many of them cause a strain on public services in Guam because they arrive with inadequate jobs skills and some have health challenges.
Potential national security implications
The FSM’s move also could have national security implications for the United States. Under the Compact, the FSM allows the United States exclusive use of the island nation’s land, sea and airspace for military purposes.
The resolution, introduced Nov. 19 in the FSM Congress, signals to Washington, D.C., sentiments from certain members of the FSM Congress that the island nation has been unhappy with its current relationship with the United States.
“Whereas, the United States derives many benefits from the amended Compact, not least of which is its exclusive control over the military use of the Federated States of Micronesia’s extensive territorial waters and airspace,” according to the resolution.
“Be it resolved that the Nineteenth Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia, Third Special Session, 2015, requests that the President of the Federated States of Micronesia terminate the Amended Compact of Free Association with the United States of America,” the resolution reads in part.
The resolution also states “the recent words and deeds of United States policymakers suggest they view the amended Compact as an act of charity by the United States rather than a treaty between two sovereign nations.”
The FSM Congress resolution makes reference to a recent recommendation by the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “consider establishing a pre-screening process and requiring advanced permission for prospective travelers from the Federated States of Micronesia and other Freely Associated States to enter the United States.”
Government of Guam officials have been asking the federal government to put a screening process in place for regional migrants who enter Guam.
The Compact states FSM citizens can enter Guam and other U.S. jurisdictions for work and to get an education.
Sen. Robson U. Romolow, Chuuk rep to FSM Congress (Photo: FSM Congress website)
The resolution also states the U.S. entities “have unilaterally made drastic cuts to the funding of the College of Micronesia-FSM without prior discussion or consultation with leaders of the Federated States of Micronesia.”
China commits to give FSM $10M
Signals from some in the FSM leadership of its relationship angst with the United States followed its recent acceptance of major financial assistance from mainland China.
On Sept. 29 this year, the FSM announced the signing of what the island nation called China’s “biggest grant assistance” to the island nation.
On that day, FSM announced China is giving the FSM the equivalent of about more than $10 million for various projects and 15 vehicles.
The United States has given the FSM much more over the years.
Between fiscal 2007 and 2011, the FSM spent about $158 million in U.S.-provided funds for education and health care, according to a U.S. Government Accountability report.