- By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
FSM resets ties with US under Biden presidency; Panuelo hopes for Washington's return to Paris c
Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo has renewed his country's ties with the United States under the incoming presidency of Joe Biden, filled with anticipation that Washington would sign up back into the Paris Agreement.
For FSM and other Pacific island states predicted to be in danger of submerging, climate change remains a primary long-term security issue. Hence the regional leaders' disappointment in President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris treaty , a decision he announced in June 2017, and officially went into effect on Nov. 4.
Panuelo expressed hopes that the United States would return to the fold with the global effort in "tackling the existential threat of climate change."
According to the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service, climate change will cause continued increases in air and ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific islands region, increased frequency of extreme weather events such increased rainfall during the summer months and a decrease in rainfall during the winter months.
“Mr. President-Elect and Madam Vice President-Elect, with respect, I have seen you pronounce that on your first day in office that the United States of America will rejoin the Paris Agreement, and it is my sincere and heartfelt hope that this is precisely what will occur,” Panuelo stated in a Nov. 10 letter congratulating Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The 2015 treaty's long-term temperature goal is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C (3.6 °F) above pre-industrial levels; and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F), recognizing that this would substantially reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
The Biden administration is coming in as FSM and the U.S. are headed for the continuation of the Compact talks. “It is my hope and intention that, under your administration, we will continue to move rapidly on issues of mutual import to our two nations, including the completion of the negotiations on the expiring economic provisions of our Compact of Free Association," Panuelo said.
Along with Palau President Tommy Remengesau and former Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Panuelo visited the White House in May 2019 and met with President Donald Trump, who sought to reinvigorate the United States' alliance with the freely associated states.
Panuelo said FSM "has heard the calls from the United States to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and Micronesians are committed to doing their part in maintaining regional and international security."
The FSM president concluded his letter by describing the nation’s faith in the United States to overcome the recent challenges faced by the world during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This year of 2020 has brought significant challenges, from the Covid-19 pandemic and the loss of always- precious and invaluable human lives, to economic hardships that are increasingly unequal in the categories of people most affected," he wrote.
"Overcoming these challenges may at first appear to be Sisyphean in nature, but I want you to know that I, and the people of the Federated States of Micronesia, have faith in the United States of America, and the American people, in overcoming them, and becoming stronger as a result."