A US congressional decision to not renew funding for the Compacts of Free Association (COFA) would severely undermine American and Taiwanese national security in the Pacific. These COFAs govern the United States’ relationship with Palau, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands while also granting the United States extensive military access throughout their territories. The United States renewed COFAs with Palau and Micronesia in May. It then did so with the Marshall Islands in October. The signed agreements are now before Congress for funding consideration. Congress previously funded the COFAs for a twenty-year period in 2003. The total cost for all three of the twenty-year agreements would be roughly $7 billion USD spread over the period 2024 to 2043, according to the Congressional Research Service.
These three island countries control key sea-lanes that provide a secure route connecting American allies and partners, such as the Philippines and Taiwan, to the United States territory of Guam and state of Hawaii. Palau and the Marshall Islands are two of the 13 countries that maintain official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. This international diplomatic recognition is critical to demonstrating the false nature of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) claims that Taiwan is a province of the People’s Republic of China. The loss of COFA funding would present an opportunity for the CCP to expand its economic influence with these strategically vital countries in the Pacific.
Comment: I’m not sure if this is just the ISW ringing the alarm bells over a potential congressional decision or if this is something that is actively being discussed. Now that the immediate fate of Kitara Ravache has been decided, how will those congress critters occupy their time? With all the tut-tuting and harumphing about China being out to get us, this would be a supremely short-sighted and idiotic move. Are Mike Johnson’s compatriots that intent on going full on sakoku?