Breaking News
Get 40% Off 0
Is NVDA a 🟢 buy or 🔴 sell? Unlock Now

U.S. aims for 'top line' deal on aid to three Pacific island countries

Published Dec 08, 2022 07:05PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 

By Michael Martina and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States hopes to reach agreement on "top line" numbers for assistance to three Pacific island countries by the year end, a State Department official told Reuters on Thursday, part of negotiations critical to shoring up U.S. strategic interests in a region courted by China.

The Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Palau are sovereign nations that agreed Compacts of Free Association, or COFAs, in the 1980s, under which the United States retained responsibility for their defense and exclusive access to huge swaths of the Pacific.

COFA provisions will expire in 2023 for the Marshall Islands and FSM, and in 2024 for Palau and though the island nations still enjoy close ties to Washington, critics warn that a failure to reach new terms for economic aid could spur them to look to China for funding or increased trade and tourism.

The nations have complained that assistance has not kept pace with U.S. obligations but President Joe Biden's administration pledged at a summit in September to try to reach agreements by year end.

"We're not talking about signing final agreement texts by the end of the year," a U.S. State Department official told Reuters. "We're aiming to get good consensus on what the top-line assistance would be, agreed by all sides."

The official declined to say what dollar amounts were under discussion but said Washington hoped to reach deals with all three countries by the year-end or early next year.

One source familiar with the talks said the figures could include hundreds of millions of dollars a year in assistance spread across the three COFA countries, though the amounts could vary by year and by purpose.

This would be an increase from existing funding, although the islands' strategic value given China's growing influence has risen significantly since the COFAs were last amended nearly two decades ago.

Marshall Islanders are still plagued by the health and environmental effects of the 67 U.S. nuclear bomb tests there from 1946 to 1958, which included "Castle Bravo" at Bikini Atoll in 1954 - the largest U.S. bomb ever detonated.

Though the State Department says Washington already reached a full and final settlement for the nuclear legacy under past agreements, the official said Washington was "exploring a variety of areas in which the United States might provide broad assistance" to address ongoing needs.

Asked if Washington would consider a formal apology the Marshall Islands has requested for the impacts of the nuclear tests, the U.S. official said there had long been conversations about it within the U.S. government.

"I think it's something that we think about regularly and discuss internally," the official said, without elaborating.

U.S. aims for 'top line' deal on aid to three Pacific island countries
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.
  • Any comment you publish, together with your investing.com profile, will be public on investing.com and may be indexed and available through third party search engines, such as Google.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email