PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On June 15th, 2022, His Excellency David W. Panuelo—President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)—telephonically received the Honorable Anthony Blinken, Secretary of the Department of State of the United States of America, so as to discuss matters of mutual importance and interest, with topics ranging in scope from the next convening of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders to the 50th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
On the topic of FSM-U.S. relations more generally, President Panuelo reiterated that the U.S. is the FSM’s first and foremost ally, and that the FSM will never take any action, or allow any action to be taken, that would threaten the FSM-U.S. Enduring Partnership or regional security and stability. President Panuelo thanked Secretary Blinken for both his leadership and the leadership of the U.S. Government at large, saying that the U.S. playing a leadership role in promoting a Free & Open Indo-Pacific “benefits our global community and Indo-Pacific region, especially our Blue Pacific Continent.” Secretary Blinken thanked President Panuelo for his leadership and the FSM’s highly visible commitments to peace, unity, and liberty.
On the topic of the Compact of Free Association, President Panuelo described his personal confidence in the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Compact Negotiations, H.E. Joseph Yun, and the elemental importance of the FSM’s proposed package of enhancements to the Education Sector, Health Sector, and Infrastructure Sector, in addition to the proposed Environment Sector, the latter of which the President described as being the actual answer for the FSM’s capacity to successfully adapt to, and mitigate from, the impacts of Climate Change. The President highlighted that the FSM considers Climate Change as the Nation’s and region’s most significant security threat, and noted his confident hope for the conclusion of Compact negotiations by the end of September.
On the topic of Pacific regionalism, solidarity, and unity, President Panuelo described his renewed and heightened appreciation for in-person dialogue as a means of solving problems and arriving at consensus, as seen in the Suva Agreement as an outcome in the recent meeting between leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum and the Micronesian Presidents Summit. Noting the importance of in-person presence and the positive impact it brings, President Panuelo solicited Secretary Blinken’s support in ensuring meaningful, visible, and interactive U.S. presence at the forthcoming Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders, to be held in Hawaii in the month of September 2022.
On the topic of human rights, President Panuelo described his awareness of the 50th Session of the Human Rights Council, and emphasized the FSM’s broader view that an infringement on the rights of one person is an infringement on the rights of us all. By extension, the President advised Secretary Blinken that the U.S. can expect the FSM’s full-throated support of human rights in the coming days.
The remainder of the conversation vacillated widely amongst a multitude of topics of mutual interest and import. Among these, President Panuelo described the FSM’s continued appreciation for Her Excellency Carmen G. Cantor, Ambassador of the USA to the FSM, who the FSM soon hopes will become the Assistant Secretary for Insular & International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Interior.
It is unknown at the time of this release’s publication as to whether or not President Panuelo has listened to Secretary Blinken’s self-produced and self-described “wonk rock” tracks, and/or if the President has pondered on the Secretary’s publicly available rock and roll preferences and compared them to the Prime Minister of Australia’s recent gifting of Powderfinger (on vinyl) to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. While it is not within the scope of the Division of Public Information’s mandate to speculate on this, it is noteworthy that President Panuelo retains a longstanding appreciation for Elvis Presley, as formerly discussed in Ambassador Cantor’s long-running “American Waves” show across the FSM’s public radio stations. “It is not a minor human-interest story that a Secretary of State is interested in and participates in the arts,” President Panuelo said in a statement after the meeting, “because to make art and to appreciate art is to demonstrate empathy—and that’s the trait, the exact trait, that the World needs, and the Pacific needs, in these challenging times.