2021 Defense Cooperation Dialogue Between the FSM & Australia Focuses on IUU Fishing, FSM Maritime Security

PALIKIR, Pohnpei—The 2021 Defense Cooperation Dialogue between the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Government of Australia has recently concluded, with its success measured by the strengthening and deepening of the FSM-Australia bilateral security relationship and the in-depth and uncensored exchange of views on mutual security interests and challenges affecting the FSM and the Pacific at large.

Both the FSM and Australia reaffirmed their commitments to ongoing efforts and collaborations, such as the Pacific Maritime Security Program, Maritime Security Cooperation, Australia’s Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) program, and technical assistance and training opportunities for law enforcement officers.

Significant discussion was focused on how to respond to the dramatic increase of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in the region. Important updates on the forthcoming Guardian-class Patrol Boats handover in Australia, and arrival to the FSM, due to occur in the first and second quarters of Calendar Year 2022 respectively, were discussed at length, including how aerial support will also be provided as part of the security package. The Honorable Joses R. Gallen, Secretary of the Department of Justice, shared ongoing plans, initiatives, and strategies concerning law enforcement, security issues, and capacity-building needs in the FSM.

The meeting concluded on a positive note, with Secretary Gallen emphasizing the Nation’s appreciation for the assistance and contributions by the Australian Government to the FSM on Maritime Security and Enforcement.

“I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Her Excellency Jo Cowley, Ambassador of Australia to the FSM, LCDR David Perry, CPO Craig Hoskin, and AIRCDRE Stephen Edgeley, Director-General, Pacific and Timor Leste, of Australia’s Department of Defense, and every Australian who promotes peace, friendship, cooperation, and love in our common humanity with this Paradise in Our Backyards,” His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the FSM, said in a statement following the conclusion of the meeting. “Australia has consistently shown honesty, sincerity, and love to the people of Micronesia, and has shown their adeptness at finding capacity gaps and filling them. We benefit every day from Australia’s partnership with our country on maritime security and surveillance capacity, and I am grateful that this year’s Defense Cooperation Dialogue was so successful.”