If there is any plan to bring military presence on Yap, Gov. Henry Falan would welcome it with open arms. “After all,” he said, “the Compact of Free Association gives the U.S. the exclusive right to provide military power over this entire area that is regarded as having strategic value. The U.S. military does not need my permission or anyone else’s permission to build a post on any of these islands.”
Yap is a state of the Federated States of Micronesia, which is freely associated with the United States, an arrangement that comes with perks on both sides. Like every island nation in the Pacific islands region, FSM is emerging as an important component of the U.S. military’s Indo-Pacific strategy amid China’s relentless campaign to expand its clout in this part of the world.
While FSM has been a friend both to the U.S. and China, Falan does not hide his lack of fondness for Beijing. He is not coy about his reluctance to accept aid from China, preferring to be assisted by Japan instead.
“Personally, and in my role as governor, I feel strongly that democracy is still the very best form of government in the world. America has given us the freedom and opportunity needed to decide and pursue our own course,” Falan said.
Two former military officials recommended that the U.S. military expand its footprint in the region to create a more distributed force posture and allow greater flexibility across a range of scenarios and political-military challenges, according to two former defense officials.
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