By COLIN CLARK
WASHINGTON: If the Pacific is the most important theater, then the islands of Palau are surely among the most important pieces of real estate for the US. As we reported earlier, however, the House Armed Services Committee didn’t seem to accept this when they dropped language from the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act authorizing payment due to Palau for exclusive US military access to the islands.
China, of course, would love to wedge itself into Palau, as they have done so successfully in other Pacific island states such as Fiji.
The news here is that Sen. John McCain’s Senate Armed Services Committee did approve the Palau Compact language, as we predicted. The Trump Administration admonished the House in its Statement of Administration Policy on the 2018 NDAA: “Failure to approve the CRA could imperil ongoing national security initiatives with the Republic of Palau and destabilize United States access and influence in a region that is increasingly contested by China.”
Read the full story at Breaking Defense