PALIKIR, Pohnpei—During the week of October 10th to 14th, 2022, the Honorable Aren B. Palik, Vice President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), lead the FSM delegation for a Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) with representatives of the Government of the United States of America. Held in the Island of Guam, the JCM provided an opportunity for the Vice President and his delegation—inclusive of elected officials and senior-level public servants across the FSM—to engage in detailed briefings and dialectic on issues relating to the FSM’s defense and security from conventional and non-conventional threats.
While Climate Change has historically and contemporaneously been described by the FSM Government as the Nation’s number-one existential security threat—and this remains true as of the date of this release—a significantly disproportionate amount of the briefings, discussions, and problem-solving focused on the enduring challenge of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
One of the primary outcomes of the JCM is a first-of-its-kind expanded shiprider agreement between the FSM and the United States, which is intended to further operationalize, strengthen, and modernize the existing shiprider agreement between the two countries. The expanded shiprider agreement signed by the respective law enforcement authorities allows for remote coordination of authorities, and so results in enabling the United States to act on behalf of the FSM in combatting illicit maritime activity and to strengthen international security operations. Signing on behalf of the FSM was the Honorable Joses R. Gallen, Secretary of the Department of Justice, and signing on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard was Captain Nicholas R. Simmons, Commander of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia Sector Guam.
Traditionally, the shiprider agreement between the FSM and the United States resulted in actual FSM law enforcement officers literally riding on a U.S. Coast Guard vessel for a period of time, so that in the event the U.S. Coast Guard vessel—whilst in the FSM’s waters—detected activity that is contrary to FSM law, the FSM law enforcement officer onboard would have the capacity to suspend the potential criminal activity and apprehend any potential suspects. This form of shiprider agreement has been, and continues to be, essential towards securing the FSM’s borders and maintaining security across the Nation’s vast ocean territory. The FSM Government envisions that the expanded agreement, which allows for remote coordination of authorities, will dramatically reduce IUU and other activity that threatens the FSM’s security and stability.
“The [FSM] is dedicated to extending to all peoples and nations that which we seek: peace, friendship, cooperation, and love in our common humanity,” Vice President Palik said in a statement following the signing ceremony. “Kind words, kind actions, and kind intentions are good enough for the great majority of us, who abide by the rule of law and see the value to our society and our planet in working together in harmony. For those who don’t abide by the rule of law, however, and threaten our economic and food security by illegally fishing in our waters, this expanded shiprider agreement will help to ensure the FSM’s security and continues to contribute to our vision of a Free & Open Indo-Pacific and peaceful Blue Pacific Continent.”