Marshall Islands heads to polls in election closely watched by Washington

Must Read

As we wait for football’s return we remember those we have lost for ever – Brian Reade

The plan was for Leeds fans to remember Kevin Speight and Christopher Loftus at Elland Road before tomorrow’s Good Friday game...

Sadio Mane admits he was ‘thinking about Man Utd’ before Liverpool transfer

Sadio Mane has admitted he was "thinking more about Manchester United" before joining Liverpool in 2016. Mane has...

Bruno Fernandes explains Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s role in clinching Man Utd transfer

Bruno Fernandes has explained how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer convinced him to join Manchester United in a January transfer that proved...

Marcus Rashford details leading role Harry Maguire played in launch of NHS fund

Marcus Rashford has hailed the role played by Manchester United captain Harry Maguire in setting up the Players Together NHS fund....


SYDNEY (Reuters) – Voters in the Marshall Islands went to the polls on Monday in a general election that will determine who will lead the Pacific island country’s negotiations with the United States on the renewal of a regional security pact.

FILE PHOTO: Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

The vote comes at time of growing concern in the United States and among its allies about China’s efforts to expand its influence in the Pacific.

About halfway between Hawaii and Australia, the Marshall Islands gained independence in 1986 after four decades under U.S. administration.

President Hilda Heine is seeking to retain her seat in the 33-seat Senate, which will then vote to pick the next president.

Speaking before the polls opened, Heine called on voters to “stay the course” and return her government to power.

How she fares could have an impact on an agreement, due to expire in 2024, which gives the U.S. military exclusive access to airspace and territorial waters of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau.

“Heine faces a difficult road back to power, which may slow the progress in renewing the Compact of Free Association,” Jonathan Pryke, director of the Pacific Islands program at the Lowy Institute, a think-tank in Australia.

In exchange for granting access to the U.S. military, the three countries get financial assistance under the compact.

Talks at renewing it began in August when U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Micronesia.

The three Pacific nations have gained greater strategic significance given China’s push into the region and recent decisions by two other Pacific countries – the Solomon Islands and Kiribati – to abandon diplomatic ties with Taiwan and recognize Beijing..

Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Robert Birsel



Source link

Comments

0 comments

Latest Update

Abacha loot: Nigerian govt disagrees with US senator’s move against funds return

The federal government has refused an attempt by United States lawmaker, Chuck Grassley, to block the repatriation of $320m laundered by the late...

Concerns as fire guts Treasury House in Abuja

Only ignorant fools among this territory natives hasn’t see the fact that we are in another 1967-1970. Only ignorant fools among this territory natives...

Looking back at the greatest shots in NBA Finals history

It's as unforgettable a moment as there is in NBA history, no matter how much San Antonio Spurs fans would love to forget...

Poland may extend restrictions, no drastic new rules planned: minister

FILE PHOTO: A worker wearing protective gear disinfects a public bus during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Gdynia, Poland, April...

Where the Promise of Bernie Sanders Goes Now

The Bernie Sanders campaign was built on big promises. There was the promise of affordable health care, the promise of free college, the...

More Post Like This

Comments

0 comments