Officials from the US have met with officials from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau virtually to start renegotiating provisions of decades-old treaties.
The Compacts of Free Association provided economic support to the Pacific nations but those provisions were due to expire in 2023 and 2024.
The treaties also gave the US strategic access to the three nations' surrounding waters and airspace.
The American negotiators included Ambassador Karen Stewart and Doug Domenech, the Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs at the Department of Interior.
Mr Domenech said, despite challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, groundwork had been laid for successful negotiations and a schedule had been established with goal of concluding negotiations by the end of the year.
Part of the urgency involved China's overtures to the region. China recently provided the FSM with more than $US300,000 to fight Covid-19 and about 10,000 face masks and other protective equipment.
The next official meeting had been set for the end of the month.