President Panuelo & Vice President Palik Meet Admiral John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. INDO-PACIFIC Command, Discuss Regional Security & Yap State Infrastructure Upgrades

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Press Release

President Panuelo & Vice President Palik Meet Admiral John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. INDO-PACIFIC Command, Discuss Regional Security & Yap State Infrastructure Upgrades


PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On March 18th, 2023, His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Honorable Aren B. Palik, Vice President of the FSM, and the Honorable Kandhi A. Elieisar, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, joined Admiral John C. Aquilino, Commander of the U.S. INDO-PACIFIC Command, and Charge’d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in the FSM, Alissa Bibb, to discuss items of mutual interest and importance to the FSM-U.S. Enduring Partnership. President Panuelo first met Admiral Aquilino in Honolulu, Hawaii, for high-level defense talks in July, 2021, with one of the outcomes of those discussions including the Admiral’s commitment to visit the FSM.


Prior to meeting the President and Vice President, Admiral Aquilino visited the State of Yap to provide briefings to the Honorable Charles Chieng, Governor of Yap, as well as the Yap State Legislature and the traditional leaders of the Council of Pilung and the Council of Tamol. The Admiral discussed topics such as the U.S. funding for improving the runway in Yap State, which will enable better disaster response and decrease fuel consumption for aircraft, benefitting the FSM socially, economically, and ecologically. In addition, the Admiral described the continued U.S. commitment to enhancing stability in the Asia-Pacific region.


The meeting between President Panuelo, Vice President Palik, and Admiral Aquilino covered similar territory as the meeting between the Admiral and the leadership of Yap State. The Admiral described to the President and Vice President what the upgraded airport and seaport will look like, with the airport to include an expanded runway and the seaport to include dredging and forming-up piers and warehouses, among other infrastructure. Additionally, the President, Vice President, and Admiral discussed regional security issues and concerns.


Regarding the latter, the Admiral offered, and the President and Vice President enthusiastically accepted, to provide forthcoming briefings on Climate Change projections in the FSM, with the aim of providing leadership renewed capacity in identifying, mitigating, and adapting to Climate Change-related threats and natural disasters of any type.


Both President Panuelo and Vice President Palik thanked Admiral Aquilino for his advocacy with regards to strengthening the Compact of Free Association between the FSM and the U.S., and solicited the Admiral’s advocacy, where appropriate, with relevant U.S. officials with regards to infrastructure support, and economic development. President Panuelo described the importance of more dedicated support to road infrastructure and human development capacity, and Vice President Palik described the importance of new programs and facilities, such as the expansions to the Yap State Airport and Seaport, translating into direct economic benefit to the Nation.


“It was a pleasure to see my good friend, Admiral Aquilino,” President Panuelo said in a statement following the meeting. “The Admiral kept his promise to visit the FSM and provided extensive opportunities for ‘Questions & Answers’ with all of Yap State’s leadership as well as the FSM National Government.”


“I think a sense of patriotism for our relationship is important,” the President continued, “Because there is no closer ally to the FSM than the United States. Our Enduring Partnership, as codified by the Compact, means, among so many other things, that our country is genuinely independent and genuinely sovereign—but also protected by the United States as part of the homeland. The U.S. Armed Forces are also the FSM’s Armed Forces, and our own FSM citizens enlist at a higher rate per capita than any U.S. State. The delegation of our defense authorities is under our own FSM Constitution and we choose to do so freely, and we fight for the same freedoms, like peace, unity, and liberty, and protecting the rules-based international order.”


Palikir, Pohnpei State, FM 96941
Phone: (691) 320-2228
Fax: (691) 320-2785




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