Strategic location – Micronesia

We in Micronesia should really thank Kim Jong Un.  Every time he threatens Guam, our location becomes that more strategic.  And yes, I know it is scary to be placed in harm’s way like this.  But who has got our back militarily? The US Armed Forces.  Thanks to the Compact of Free Association with the US, we are in good military hands.

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Besides, the US has bases in Japan, and of course, Guam itself is Fortress Pacific.  Over to the east of us, lies the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Site also known by the Marshallese people as Kwajelein.  Their specialty is missile defense.

We are not the only ones benefitting from this “North Korean” crisis.  Earlier, US President Trump told Governor Calvo of Guam this:

“I have to tell you, you have become extremely famous all over the world.  They are talking about Guam, and they’re talking about you.” And when it comes to tourism, he added, “I can say this: You’re going to go up, like tenfold with the expenditure of no money”

It is truly great to see that Trump is looking at the positive benefit of this situation because of course, he has the full weight of the US Armed Forces behind him.  Just like we do.  So, let’s be calm and eat our spam, rice, breadfruit and drink our sakau.  What could we really do anyways?  Strike back? Leave?  We will weather this storm as we have all storms, invaders, foreigners etc to our beautiful shores.

 

Till we have made these islands another promised land….

The Micronesian President’s Summit was in town this week.  On Monday, Palauan President Tommy Remengesau Jr arrived in Pohnpei followed by RMI President Hilda Heine a day later or her representative…. I’m not sure.  

The last summit occurred earlier this year in Guam following the Micronesian Islands Forum (MIF).  The last summit produced a communique that highlighted their theme and listed their decisions and priorities.

 I’m looking forward to this summit’s communique and their theme as well.  There hasn’t been much in the way of publicity announcing this summit.  

Almost seems like a meeting of an elite secret society with plans for global domination, joking.  But, I am sure that all will be shared after the summit and the people of Micronesia (FSM, RMI and Palau) will be informed of our leader’s decisions and focus for this year and beyond.

Freely Associated States FAS Micronesia

 

I know if you’re like me, you are super interested in what is going on in the government, in the region and throughout the Pacific Rim.  We have so much to look forward to.  The compact, the Chinese, dual citizenship, climate change, migration, economy, education, gender equity and the list goes on.  I’m sure we would love to hear from our elected leaders and see progress in our islands.  That reminds me of these lyrics in our national anthem:

“Till we have made these islands another promised land, till we have made these islands another promised laaaaand!” (hold that note…)

I remember these lyrics and I wonder what is the game plan for Team FSM? Take a look at the last summit’s communique here  17th Micronesian President’s Summit and let’s wait for this summit’s communique ( I wonder when it will come out?) to see the game plan for Team FSM and do our part in making these islands another promised land.  

We must do our part to stay informed.  

 

Micronesia down in Melanesia

Last month FSM President Pete Christian was down in the Solomon Islands for the RAMSI closing ceremony.  Ever heard of RAMSI?  I don’t think many FSM citizens are aware of our contribution to ‘helping the Solomon Islands lay the foundations for long-term stability, security and prosperity.’

RAMSI stands for Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands.  Their website at RAMSI.ORG explains:

After five years of ethnic tensions, and a coup in 2000, the problems facing Solomon Islands were many and serious. Law and order had broken down, officials and private citizens were subject to intimidation and violence, and corruption was unfettered. The Government and its institutions had ceased to function effectively. Corruption was widespread. Public finances were in ruin and many of the most basic services such as health and education were not being delivered to the people.”

So, basically the country was in chaos and on the brink of a total breakdown.  Sounds like a dangerous situation to me.  And so… as good neighbors, FSM, Palau and RMI decided to help our Melanesian brothers and sisters.  It’s what we do in the Islands.

ENTER FSM

FSM joined RAMSI in 2006 according to their website. Over the years we have sent down FSM National Police Officers to help out in sometimes dangerous situations far away from home.  I’ve asked RAMSI to provide the names of our Officers and the time periods they spent in Solomon Islands.  Still waiting for their reply.

Their website shows Mr Raynold Julios from Pohnpei as a serving Officer:

My name is Raynold Julios from the Federated States of Micronesia National Police Force based in the state of Pohnpei. I joined the Force in late 2009. I hold the rank of Officer 1.

In the RAMSI Participating Police Force (PPF) I am an advisor to the General Duties at the Honiara Central Police Station. I work alongside shift supervisors and constables providing professional advice as I see fit. I recently adopted the role of an advisor with the watch house Sergeant and his constables looking after all the documents and photographs of the arrestees taken and making sure the appropriate protocols and processes are followed.

RAMSI is a very good opportunity for me to learn new things from my fellow PPF and RSIPF officers. These lessons will become useful when I return to the FSM Police Force. I thank RAMSI for giving me this opportunity.

I was able to find these two pictures featuring Delincoln Norman Jr – who passed away (RIP) and Raynold Julios.

What a great program to be involved in to help out our brothers and sisters down south.  If you know an Officer who served in Solomon Islands on our behalf, give him/her a hi-five and say thank you for representing FSM!

 

Microlinks 21 July 17 –

Bringing the Pacific into view for Chinese tourists

More and more we are hearing about the Chinese extending their reach across the Pacific.  The one belt-one road initiative is unfolding before our very eyes.

“Pacific Trade Invest China has teamed up with China’s leading travel channel to film a $350,000 series of promotions of Pacific Island destinations that will go to air later this year.”

Should we be afraid of this?  I remember a recent article about President Christian on a state visit to China brought so much attention to Micronesians (especially those living abroad).  In the end Bill Jaynes interviewed the President and we had our information meal.  But, sad to say the people did not know about this until he was already there…. no news from the FSM Government.

By the way, have you checked out the FSM Government’s information website? I hope it has been updated since 12 June 2017.

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Training across the Pacific

Over in Fiji government representatives from 8 Pacific countries including the FSM and Palau attended a USAID/DFAT/GIZ workshop on climate finance readiness in the Pacific.  Over in Palau, 400 people attend the 30th Pacific Educational conference, RMI and the FSM attend.

“Mr Tabelaul, from Palau’s Ministry of Education, said the focus of the conference was quality and sustainability in education for student success.

“What can we share as a diverse entity in the Pacific. Something that will be an asset to our teachers and our educational systems, something that we’ll be able to use in the classrooms and for our children tomorrow and the day after will be able to be who they are as islanders and then also somebody that can stand the 21st century challenges,” said Andrew Tabelaul.”

We blogged previously about a 8.3 million grant from the ADB through the Australia and FSM Government to improve basic education in the FSM.  It’s good to see that our focus continues to be in our children, the future.  We hope to see this continue as we head into 2023 when the economic portion of our beloved funding from the US changes.

Microlinks 17 July 17 (7-17-17): What if? Private scholarships, FSM news? and job vacancies.

Here is something interesting that I didn’t know about.  Operation Crossroads is called America’s secret plan to nuke Japan’s Fleet.  Japan’s fleet at this time was located at what the article calls the “atoll” of Chuuk.  At least they got the name right.  Interesting to think what would have happened if this did happen.  This could have seriously changed the course of Chuuk’s destiny.  Micronesia’s what if?

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We all know Peace Corps Volunteers have been helping out Micronesia since the 60’s and probably even know a few who stayed on.  Well, they continue to help Micronesia out and I’m happy to hear about private scholarships offered to Micronesians by Habele.  If you haven’t heard of them, click here to learn more about these guys.  This is exactly what our kids need, more access to opportunity.

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So what’s going on in the FSM Government?  Well, if you check their website, nothing much since 12 June 17.  I’m not complaining.  I know how busy we can get and maintaining a website is not as fun as social media.  But, there is a Facebook site that was last updated in December 2015.  Again, I know there are other priorities, so I’m not complaining.

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On a side note, H.E. Peter M Christian was in Fiji earlier this month attending The world climate leaders’ summit you didn’t hear about, so it’s always great to hear that our President is out there representing the FSM well.  Thanks Mr President.

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And finally, I’d like to share this week’s job vacancies at FSM National Government and Pohnpei State Government.  Hope you all have a great week.

Microlinks 14 July 2017

Micronesians Worldwide,

 

Hope you are all doing well today.  As we go into the weekend, would like to share some news stories with you about our Home:

University of the South Pacific meets with Pacific Island diplomats – Over in Fiji the faculty met with representatives of countries with students attending USP.  Representing FSM was from the Embassy in Fiji was Mr Waguk.  There are 2 USP locations outside of Fiji in Micronesia – One in Nauru and the other in Majuro, RMI.

 

Our 20th FSM Congress is in a special session that will run until Saturday the 15th.  One of the bills for an act CB 20 – 43 reads from the first special session reads:

To propose an amendment by referendum to Article II section 1 of the Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia pertaining to the Supremacy of the FSM Constitution, and for other purposes.

I tried clicking on the link to get more details of this bill, but for the second day was unable to access on the 20th FSM Congress website cfsm.fm.  Maybe someone can click on it later and get the right destination.

Lots of sports activity in Guam, with the Marshallese ladies and Palauan guys winning bronze medals in the FIBA games.  I was wondering…. where is FSM?

I’d also like to share a great Facebook page that is helping our people in the states: We are Oceania is an excellent organization, doing great things.  Keep up the good work guys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese in FSM

Chinese Embassy meets with FSM Finance

If you look at the recent previous posts on the link above you will see the Chinese Embassy in FSM has been busy.  Some of the meetings and projects they have involved in:

  • Kolonia-China Friendship Center
  • Ground breaking for Chuuk Government building
  • Meeting with FSM Vice President
  • Meeting with Pohnpei Governor
  • Meeting with Chuuk Governor
  • Meeting with Pohnpei State Senator
  • Meeting with FSM OEEM
  • Meeting with FSM Health and Social Affairs

Very busy diplomatic mission.  None of these meetings/projects are out of the Chinese Ambassador’s job description.  He’s doing what he is supposed to do, and he’s sharing it with everyone.  As the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in the FSM he is setting a great example for others.

Micro links : Education project in FSM, RMI; Yap delegation visits China; US territories backdoor for terrorists….

ADB signs co-financing agreement for basic education in FSM and RMI

Currently waiting for the FSM Congress to approve this loan that will re-vamp basic education (elementary) in the FSM. Considering how much sector grant funds have been used up for education, how will this differ?  We hope that FSM has learned from the years of spending precious education money under the compact of free association.

America’s outlying territories : A back door for terrorists, criminals and spies?

“Most Americans don’t know it but in 2008 Congress set up a special visa waiver program that allows Russian tourists to enter Guam, and permits both Chinese and Russian tourists to travel to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). They may enter without a visa, and remain for up to 45 days. This means that these individuals do not undergo the vetting normally required of Russian and Chinese visa applicants.”

No comment on this one, that’s all Guam and CNMI.  We have our own immigration procedures in the FSM and they are pretty adequate from what I’ve experienced.  Guam and Saipan have the military in their backyards to worry about, but they also have the FBI, Homeland Security, etc.

Yap cultural delegation visits China

Yet another chapter in the China – Yap story.  Yap should take advantage of the distance between them and China.  It would make sense for the Chinese to invest in Yap… as long as Yap positive control of that relationship.  Chinese has invested in America to the point of owning their debt, why can’t Yap build a resort?

FSM Gov job vacancies

Just another share of job openings “advertised” at the FSM Government.

And here is a great story coming out of Hawaii, actually a podcast.  Sen Glenn Wakai from the Kalihi-Salt lake district in Hawaii is a great friend of Micronesia.  Listen here: Sen Glenn Wakai Talks About His Outreach To Micronesia Kalanghan, Kinisou, Kulo and Kamagar!!