The United States is nearly finished installing radars at certain sites in Palau, according to bilateral talks between United States Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Doug Domenech and President Tommy Remengesau Jr.
Domenech, with other high-level officials from the U.S., made a short stop in Palau on February 19 to meet with the president and officials to reaffirm Washington’s commitment to the island nation.
The radar installation is aimed at boosting Palau’s maritime law enforcement capability in its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone. It will also enhance air domain awareness for aviation safety and security.
Sites proposed by the U.S. team for the Aerial Domain Awareness (ADA) are in Ngaraard and Angaur. The ADA negotiations are in final stages.
The installation of five marine domain awareness (MDA) technologies is nearing completion which will assist Palau’s maritime enforcement and surveillance especially in the light of the upcoming closure of a big area of Palau’s EEZ to commercial fishing by January 1,2020.
The U.S. also highlighted its newest program that could benefit Palau during the bilateral talk.
The U.S. Better Utilization of Investment Leading to Development (BUILD) Act according to President Remengesau will help private sector development.
The BUILD Act is a direct response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. While China’s range from $1 trillion to $8 trillion dollars, the U.S. new investment scheme will amount to $60 billion.
“We express to the US that our close friendship and diplomatic relations is not only based on the overseas funding assistance or grants but we also like to strengthen the private sector investments as in business and economic development that the US can also assist,” Remengessau said in a press conference on Wednesday.
Remengesau has earlier said that the country has approached Taiwan, Japan and the United States to help develop its tourism and business sector.
“I have approached the United States … Just one investment can go a long way to help maintain the economic progress of a small nation such as Palau,” Remengesau said last year.
The BUILD act is a new U.S. development finance institution (DFI) that “will help developing countries prosper while advancing U.S. foreign policy goals and enhancing U.S. national security interests.”
“So part of the BUILD Act is that those legitimate companies, hotels or other quality businesses from the US, that when they invest in Palau or overseas then there should be help from the US Government to minimize the investment risk or some sort of an insurance that provide confidence to investors that their investments are backed up by the US Government,” Remengesau stated. (Bernadette H. Carreon)