Pompeo Continues Anti-China Rant in Micronesia
Aug. 5, 2019 (EIRNS)—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Micronesia today, meeting with the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau. This is the first visit of a Secretary of State to these islands, with which the U.S. has a defense agreement known as Compacts of Free Association, granting the U.S. exclusive defense access. The Compact expires in 2023, and Pompeo is beginning negotiations to renew the agreement.
The region of these three contiguous areas combined is larger than the continental U.S., and is a major part of U.S. military domination of the Pacific region.
Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reports: “Experts say Beijing has intensified efforts to court these nations, seeking to gain a stronger foothold in their strategic waters, even as Washington’s top diplomat makes his rounds.”
Under current terms, the U.S. military has exclusive access to the airspace and territorial waters of the three regions, in exchange for economic assistance.
President Donald Trump met with leaders of the region in the White House in May. Pompeo told the island leaders today: “Today, I am here to confirm the United States will help you protect your sovereignty, your security, your right to live in freedom and peace, ... to sustain democracy in the face of Chinese efforts to redraw the Pacific.”
Derek Grossman, senior defense analyst at Rand Corporation in Washington, D.C., who wrote a forthcoming report on China’s influence in the region, mandated by the U.S. Congress, told SCMP that the three regions “are essentially the core of the Pacific part of the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy,” and that access to these waters allows the U.S. to project presence into the South China Sea and beyond. Grossman further said that Beijing, last week, contributed $2 million to Micronesia’s trust fund, “showing some skin in the game in the competition for influence in the region and seeking to undermine Pompeo’s visit.”