US, Palau list focus areas of defense
By Pacific Island Times News Staff Koror--The United States and Palau have identified four focus areas during the recently concluded Joint Committee Meeting.
The JCM agenda for this year was anchored on defense responsibilities, law enforcement capacity building with a range of capable partners, securing maritime resources and sovereign borders, and preparing for and responding to hazards unique to Pacific island communities.
“Our military’s defense of Palau is something we take seriously,” said Rear Adm. Ben Nicholson, commander of the Joint Region Marianas. “But it is not something that we can do alone, and it is only through our collaborative efforts here, that we can maintain the sovereignty, security, and free and open seas of this region."
Indo-Pacific Command Senior Military Official for Palau, along with Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr.; Chargé de Affaires Jim Boughner of U.S. Embassy in Koror, and senior leaders from Palau met from Nov. 2 to 4 for the biannual bilateral meeting in Palau. The JCM is in accordance with the Compact of Free Association (COFA) Title III: Security and Defense Relations and enables ongoing dialogue between nations that prove to enhance security and defense responsibilities in the region. “The pace of change globally, and more to the point, here in the Indo-Pacific is accelerating dramatically," Nicolson said. "We appreciate all of Palau’s efforts to support the Department of Defense and we recognize this meaningful relationship to make complex expeditionary training possible that span the range of military operations.”
Following meetings, Nicholson met with local media to share his perspectives on defense matters and to answer questions. During his press availability, Nicholson reiterated his appreciation for the Palau delegation, the robust dialogue, and the broad technical expertise and leadership experience that was brought to the table.
“It was an honor to represent INDOPACOM during an excellent engagement with the leadership of Palau. A great partner of the United States, Palau is a beautiful island nation with wonderful people,” Nicholson said.