By Thomas R. Matelski
February 19, 2016
Lieutenant Colonel Tom Matelski is a U.S. Army War College Fellow at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Army, the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
In December 2015, in an oft overlooked corner of the globe, the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia (F.S.M.) passed a resolution signifying the intent to end the Compact of Free Association with the United States of America in 2018. The two sides were in the process of discussing a potential renewal of the Compact when it expires in 2023.
While the rest of the world watches events in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, the People’s Republic of China is positioning itself to be in the driver’s seat in an area of key strategic interest to the United States. If Washington fails to act in a timely manner to renew the sometimes troubled Compact relationship, it will inadvertently drive the Micronesians into the arms of China and simultaneously leave a gaping hole in strategic access.
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