Made up of 1,200 islands located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the Marshall Islands have played a critical component in the strategic and military U.S. presence in the region since World War II. But their recent election could have lead to a pro-Chinese leadership. The other key factor in the Marshall Islands is that the U.S. is refusing to engage and renegotiate as the “Compact of Free Association” agreement is expiring soon.
PRELIMINARY MARSHALL ISLAND RESULTS ARE IN
On November 30, the unofficial results were announced, with President Hilda Heine defeating Justin Lani. This is good news for the U.S. as her opposition favored closer ties to Beijing. But the results will not be finalized until December 15 after a two-week period for candidates to call for recounts or contest results.
If the results hold, it will be good for both the U.S. and Taiwan. As the Marshall Islands is one of four countries in the Pacific that recognize Taiwan. However, 10 Pacific nations recognize Taiwan as Beijing.
COMPACT OF FREE ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT STILL AN ISSUE
But this does not solve the problem of the expiring Compact of Free Association agreement. The U.S. has yet to move forward on Marshallese claims for environmental and health damage that were caused by dozens of nuclear tests carried out in the 1940s and 1950s. The lack of real movement to address the concerns of the Marshallese has some U.S. lawmakers concerned that China may be willing to step in, adding to the high tensions already happening between the U.S. and China.
Read more at Clearance Jobs.com