U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), spoke at a recent full committee hearing to examine the strategic importance of the Freely Associated States to the United States and our allies in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Compacts of Free Association with the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. Barrasso said the hearing was a great opportunity to discuss the strategic importance of the Freely Associated States in the Indo-Pacific region.
Barrasso said the Compacts of Free Association the U.S. has with the Freely Associated States of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau, are a key part in our deterrence of China.
Barrasso said China is on the move – time is running out on renewing the expiring provisions of these Compacts. He said the Departments of Interior and State, as well as the Department of Defense, need to work together to get these negotiations back on track, as now is not the time to send a signal to our adversaries that the U.S does not consider the Freely Associated States a strategic priority and cannot allow China to forge stronger ties with these nations at our expense, and at the expense of our allies.