FSM: First flight to transport 41 of hundreds stranded on Guam

ASSISTANCE: President David Panuelo of the Federated States of Micronesia, right, receives Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in Pohnpei, FSM, on Aug. 5, 2019. The U.S. government is providing a humanitarian flight to transport FSM citizens stranded on Guam. Photo courtesy of the FSM president's office

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Pohnpei on Aug. 5. It will be the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state to the Federated States of Micronesia.

Pompeo is scheduled to meet with newly elected FSM President David Panuelo, Republic of the Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine and Republic of Palau President Thomas Remengesau Jr.

The three presidents of the freely associated states were at the White House in May to meet with President Donald Trump and Pompeo.  

After that meeting, a joint statement was issued that read, in part: "We recognize our unique, historic, and special relationships, and reaffirm our countries' commitments to the Compacts of Free Association, resolving to continue our close cooperation in support of prosperity, security, and the rule of law." 

These high-level diplomatic meetings with FAS leaders are seen as part of a renewed U.S. interest in Micronesia in an effort to counter growing Chinese influence throughout the region.

In Pohnpei, Pompeo also will meet with the staff and family members of the U.S. embassy in Kolonia and lay a wreath to honor the sacrifices of FSM citizens who served in the U.S. armed forces.

Pompeo is on a tour of Pacific and Southeast Asian nations that begins July 30 in Bangkok, Thailand, where he will chair a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and a Lower Mekong Initiative meeting.

He's then scheduled to travel to Australia where he’ll meet with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and join newly appointed U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper for talks with their Australian counterparts aimed at strengthening the U.S.-Australia alliance.

Pompeo leaves Pohnpei to fly back to Washington, D.C., on Aug. 6.

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