02/11/2023, 14.43
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US strikes deal with Micronesia, another piece in its China containment policy

The US signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Micronesia offering economic assistance. This follows similar deals with the Marshall Islands and Palau. The Biden administration is strengthening ties with the region to counter Chinese activism.


Washington (AsiaNews) – The United States announced yesterday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Federated States of Micronesia, as part of its efforts to contain China in the Indo-Pacific region.

The deal follows several agreements to boost military cooperation with Japan and the Philippines, centred on the South Pacific, where China is increasingly active.

The agreement with Micronesia includes future economic assistance to the Pacific Ocean nation. Last month the US signed similar pacts with two other states in the region, the Marshall Islands and Palau.

In the early 1980s, the United States established free association with the three island nations granting the US the right to provide military defence in exchange for economic assistance.

This and next year, the three agreements are set to expire and many fear that China might take advantage if they are not renewed.

The South Pacific plays a crucial strategic role in the geopolitical confrontation between China and the United States.

In May, China signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands, whose terms are secret. It grants Chinese warships the right to conduct replenish and stopover in Solomon ports, something Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has repeatedly denied.

Unlike the Solomons, other states in the region have rejected China's offer of greater regional trade and security agreements. The Federated States of Micronesia are among those who openly oppose China's activism.

Meanwhile, in Fiji, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka and his new government have begun to move away from the pro-China policies of his predecessor, Frank Bainimarama; as part of this realignment, last month Fiji ended a police training and exchange agreement with China.

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