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The Amended U.S. Compacts of Free Association with the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands: Less Free, More Compact

by Robert A. Underwood

East-West Center Working Papers, Pacific Islands Development Series, No. 16

Publisher: Honolulu: East-West Center
Publication Date: September 2003
Binding: paper
Pages: 20
Free Download: PDF

 


The proposed amendments to the Compacts of Free Association with the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) represent a significant change in their relationship with the U.S. The foremost issues for the U.S. are greater financial accountability and the establishment of trust funds to enhance budgetary self-reliance. Island interests include continuing eligibility for certain federal programs, the right to freely migrate to the U.S. and, for the RMI, U.S. payments for military operating rights on Kwajalein. While the strategic value of these two nations may be ascending, the new accountability procedures are likely to result in increased resentment toward the U.S. At the same time, adequate financial support is critical for the FSM and RMI governments to continue functioning in a manner that discourages out migration to Hawaii, Guam and other parts of the U.S. Historical, economic and security linkages will ensure continued direct U.S. involvement and additional compact changes in years to come.

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