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US boosts ties with Pacific Island allies to counter Chinese influence




Earlier this month, Mike Pompeo became the first American secretary of state to visit the Federated States of Micronesia, where he announced that Washington had begun negotiations to renew important security pacts that it maintains with several Pacific island nations.

These agreements, known as Compacts of Free Association, grant the US exclusive military access to the land, air and sea routes of Micronesia, as well as Palau and the Marshall Islands. China has recently tried to deepen its economic and diplomatic ties with these countries, which together are known as the Freely Associated States.

In an email interview, Michael S. Chase and Derek Grossman of the RAND Corporation analyze the importance of these countries for US strategy in the Asia-Pacific and the rationale for China’s engagement with them.

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