Palau’s Senate President Hokkons Baules and President Surangel Whipps Jr are at odds over a proposed Senate Joint Resolution prohibiting permanent stations for missile batteries in Palau, with accusations of foreign influence and differing interpretations of public sentiment fueling the debate.

President Whipps, in the 09 February letter to U.S Senators, expressed concern that continued delay in implementing the signed Compact Review Agreements could erode public trust and make Palau more susceptible to China’s influence.

He further claimed that Senate President Baules “is on record supporting the People’s Republic of China.”

Senator Baules adamantly refuted the allegations, stating, “The information on that resolution is from the people. Palauans have been through the war and they don’t want to go through that again. It is not just me, it is all the Palauans who want peace.”

President Whipps also raised concerns about the resolution’s language, suggesting it mirrored Chinese propaganda terminology used in the region.

He highlighted the phrase “we need to maintain peace… these [missile batteries] escalate risks to the country,” claiming it echoed Chinese rhetoric.

Senator Baules, however, emphasised that the resolution simply reflects the strong desire for peace among the Palauan people, who have firsthand experience with the devastation of war.

The disagreement comes amidst ongoing efforts by the Micronesian nations, including Palau, to secure funding for the Second Compact Review Agreement from the United States Congress.

President Whipps, along with his counterparts from the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, have collectively and individually urged U.S. lawmakers to approve the agreements.