August 24, 2023 (Agana, Guam) – The Honorable Ricky F. Cantero, Acting Secretary of the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs, was a key witness from the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) at a field hearing conducted by the United States Congressional House Committee on Natural Resources (HNR) held in Guam on August 24, 2023. The Honorable U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Chairman of the HNR Committee presided over the hearing. Seven other members of the Congressional Delegation (CODEL) accompanied Chairman Westerman on a visit to the region as a part of the CODEL visit.
The field hearing on “Peace Through Strength: The Strategic Importance of the Pacific Islands to the U.S.-led Global Security” included high-level key witnesses from the Territory of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI), the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), and the Federated States of Micronesia on a first Panel. The second panel featured a Word War II survivor and the Vice Speaker of the Guam Legislature.
In his remarks to the Committee, Acting Secretary Cantero stated that the “FSM is committed to playing a vital role in supporting the U.S. security presence in the Pacific region and the United States’ effort to combat foreign aggression in the region”. He went on to say that through the prescribed annual “Joint Committee Meeting, the FSM continues to work with the U.S. military in identifying ways of strengthening and enriching bilateral security engagements, under the Compact”. He went on to reaffirm that the “FSM conducts its own foreign relations in ways that are consistent with the terms of the Amended Compact” and that the FSM welcomes further strengthening joint activities with the U.S. Department of Defense, including construction projects and the return of the Civic Action Team (CAT). He also called on the return of the Peace Corps as an important part of the people-to-people relationship.
While the discussions at the hearing were very much about the geo-politics of the region, Acting Secretary Cantero reaffirmed to the Committee the FSM’s historical, long-standing and enduring partnership with the United States. In his submitted written statement to the Committee, he referenced the “ever-increasing enlistment of our citizens to serve in the US Armed Forces” as continued solid testimony to the strong and enduring relationship.
Acting Secretary Cantero was supported at the hearing by the FSM Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Jackson Soram, along with Mr. Asterio Takesy, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Compact Review and Planning (JCRP), Mr. Leo A. Falcam Jr., Chief Negotiator for the Compact Negotiations, and Mr. Samuel Witten, FSM Consultant in D.C.
Footage from the hearing can be viewed at the below links:
[Photo credit: House Committee on Natural Resources via Twitter]