Dropping in this week, to share some news and my take from news around the nesianhood.
Around the ‘nesianhood
Over in the CNMI, public school students have just returned to school today. They have been out since late October when Typhoon Yutu hit the CNMI. Called by some as the strongest storm anywhere in the world this year, Yutu packed sustained winds of 180 mph, and its gigantic eye enveloped much of the island of Saipan and all of Tinian, leaving the Pacific islands “mangled,” as one local official described it.
Above the ‘nesianhood
Operation Christmas Drop in Micronesia Tradition continues – On Dec 10, the world’s longest running humanitarian mission continues in Micronesia.
Every year since 1952, the US Air Force has packed and delivering food, tools and toys to more than 57 remote islands in the Southeastern Pacific, including the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau,” said a press release from the Air Force.
The east side of the ‘nesianhood
Palau‘s president says the country‘s tourism revenue is up despite a 16 percent drop in arrivals from China.
The Marianas Business Journal reported him saying Palau is focussing not on the number of visitors, but on attracting what he calls high-end tourists who will spend top dollar.
US in the ‘nesianhood
“We’ve never left,” U.S. assures Pacific from the Samoa Observer. That’s the message from the United States Government in Honolulu this week during a series of meetings with a media delegation from New Zealand and Samoa invited for “conversations” around “regional security.”
“We have always been there and we will always be committed to the security of the region. It is in the interest of the United States that freedom is upheld for everyone in the world.”
The US Indo-Pacific Command, formerly known as PACOM, was renamed recently in a move to counter “Chinese economic and military pressure in the region.”
The Military Times quotes U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as saying that “all nations large and small are essential to the region, in order to sustain stability in ocean areas critical to global peace.”
But the former Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, Navy Adm. Harry Harris, did not mince words.
“Great power competition is back,” Harris is quoted as saying. “I believe we are reaching an inflection point in history…. A geo-political competition between free and oppressive visions is taking place in the Indo-Pacific.”
We all live in a very strategic part of the world, fellow Micronesians. We always have. Our colonization over the years is proof positive that we have what others want. We must realize this and push our agenda into the mix of what is going on today. We are a sovereign nation. Allied with the greatest powers of the world. We have leverage. Let us use it for our advantage.
Our fishing ‘nesianhood
Our PNA (Parties to the Nauru Agreement) is heading to an annual meeting of the Tuna Commission in Hawaii. The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) controls the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery. PNA Members are Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.
In an interview with RadioNZ – PNA’s commercial manager, Maurice Brownjohn, told RNZ that the body is strongly opposed to other distant water nations gaining increased control over the fisheries.
You tell them Maurice. Right now, PNA controls around 50% of the global supply of skipjack tuna, the most commonly canned tuna. Because of PNA measures, stocks are now in the green. This is an extremely valuable resource that can only be properly managed by the countries of the PNA. Why? Because they are our resource, our responsibility.
PNA, please oppose those distant water nations with extreme prejudice, in an island friendly manner. WE don’t want an influx of new nations to exploit the resources of our region.
Confusing as Congress
At the FSM Congress’ sixth special session two bills were introduced that contradict each other:
C.B. No-258 Introduced by Speaker Wesley Simina proposes to amend section 107 of title 1 of the FSM code for the purpose of prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, and for other purposes.
C.B. No. 20-261 introduced by Isaac Figir proposes to further amend title 52 of the FSM code by creating a new section 120, for the purpose of prohibiting employment of transgender people by the national government and for other purposes.
What’s the deal? Is this business as usual or are the two Senators flexing their congressional muscles at the expense of taxpayers? Or something else we are not even aware of? With the first ever LGBTQ fun run concluding this weekend, it is strange to see this sort of activity coming from our elected leaders.
We’ll see how this plays out and let you all know.
In the meantime, check out the sharing and caring of Micronesia: