The people of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) have been informed not to be alarmed by increased U.S jets fly-over and anti-aircraft missile firing in the coming years, as the United States step up its military presence to counter China’s expansion in the region.
President David Panuelo in his State of the Nation address said given the geopolitical atmosphere in the Pacific, there is increased attention from the U.S Armed Forces.
“While most of the attention from the U.S Armed Forces has positive economic and societal benefits to our nation, we should also begin to expect an increase in training exercises taking place in and around our ocean territory, said President Panuelo.
Also expected in the coming years is the expansion of the port in State of Yap and increased presence from the U.S Navy Seabees.
He said residents of Yap should also be aware of the U.S practice firing anti-aircraft missiles from the ground.
“These exercises will be increasing in frequency over the next several years and while they are ultimately in our national interest and in the interest of nation’s security – of which the U.S is our indisputable guardian – it is important that our citizens know about them well in advance so that our people do not see these activities and immediately fear the worst, President Panuelo explained in his address.
In March last year, the FSM Leader had announced that the State of Yap would play a role in the U.S military repositioning in the region.
While there were no plans for permanent base in Yap at that time, the U.S Department of Defence (DOD) intended to use the state’s airport and seaport facilities for military operations when needed.
“With the approval of and in consultation with the leadership of Yap, the FSM will work with DOD to allow the U.S to improve the airport and seaport facilities,” Panuelo said during a meeting with state leaders in Yap.
One of the U.S-bankrolled projects in Yap is the international airport runway rehabilitation. The Federal Aviation Administration has invested US$37 million in the project that consists of removal and resurfacing of the airport’s runway pavement, taxiway, and removal of an earth mound that is obstructing the view between the runway and taxiway.
“(The project) must be mutually beneficial, not just for the U.S in terms of military repositioning,” Panuelo said.
“We will make sure that the airport and seaport facilities are used for the purpose of international shipping, President Panuelo had announced.