As the US pursues “great power competition” with China, Washington is on the hunt for new bases in the Pacific it can use to potentially get an upper hand in the fight. The latest site to be agreed upon is in the Federated States of Micronesia, a group of archipelagoes on the far side of the Philippine Sea from China.
Last month in Honolulu, Hawaii, Microensian President David Panuelo held high-level defense talks with US Navy Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) about “the United States’ broader defense and force posture in the Pacific,” among other topics.
The release gave no further details about where the base would be located or what type of facility it would be.
Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation after the summit, Panuelo said that while the small country of 58,000 people maintains diplomatic relations with China, he didn’t foresee the new US base as harming that relationship.
“The Freely Associated States are squarely part of the homeland, and so, we’re being protected by the United States,” he said, referring to a special client-state arrangement by which the FSM, as well as neighboring Palau and Republic of the Marshall Islands, get access to US federal aid in exchange for allowing the US military to operate in their territories and demand land for bases. The 20-year treaty is up for renewal in 2024.
A ‘Power-Projection Superhighway’
The strategic position of Micronesia and neighboring…