18 Apr 2008

Marshalls landowners in dispute with US over Kwajalein base

1:32 pm on 18 April 2008

Landowners in the Marshall Islands say they will rather lose 20 million US dollars in lease money from the American military than sign up to an unfair deal for the Kwajalein missile testing site until 2086.

The standoff could result in the U.S. shutting down the base which has been at the center of so-called Star Wars and theater missile defence development.

A deal has to be reached by December for the funds from the US to be kept in the landowners' account.

If the agreement is not renewed, the lease money reverts to the US Treasury.

The landowners demand 19 million dollars a year which is four more than offered by the US.

A Kwajalein Senator and traditional chief, Michael Kabua, says if the U.S. meets the rent demand, it can stay at

Kwajalein forever.