29 Jul 2011

Claims US losing its influence over Micronesia

6:36 pm on 29 July 2011

The armed forces committee of the Guam Chamber of Commerce says the US is at risk of losing influence over Micronesian states such as Palau to China.

The Pacific News Centre reports that the warning came at a meeting between the committee and officials in Washington DC to discuss the US military's plans on Guam and in Micronesia in general.

The committee says China's growing influence in the Pacific could affect US strategic interests.

Committee member Lee Webber says it doesn't take much money to wield political and economic soft power in the region.

"No one really knows what resources lie here specifically. We know there are significant oil deposits in Palau. And we know that the Chinese, for the last fifteen to twenty years, have been very, very aggressively moving into the Pacific islands. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce had a meeting and they invited Palau; and the President of the (Palau) Senate at that point said - and this was when Palau's President was renegotiating the Compact in Washington - If we can't get what we want, we'll simply align ourselves with China."

Lee Webber