Pacific Island Country Grants US Unilateral Maritime Enforcement Authority Amid Escalating China Tensions

The United States has gained unilateral authority to enforce maritime law in a Pacific island country.

US and Pacific Island Country Maritime Pact Forges Unilateral Enforcement Power Amidst China Strain

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The agreement, which comes as part of a bid to strengthen security ties, empowers the US Coast Guard to uphold regulations within the exclusive economic zone of the Pacific island country, even in the absence of local officers. This move aims to fortify the Pacific island country’s ability to monitor its maritime territory, counter illegal fishing activities, and discourage unwarranted maneuvers by foreign vessels. This arrangement arrives at a time when both the US and China are vying for greater influence across the Pacific. The heightened competition for dominance in the region, driven by long-standing territorial disputes and concerns over Taiwan, has prompted smaller Pacific island countries to seek support from major powers. The Pacific island country in question, grappling with its strategic positioning, seeks assistance from the US to counteract undesired actions by external actors in its coastal waters. President of the Pacific island country expressed gratitude for the cooperative effort, emphasizing that such partnerships are pivotal for fostering stability and prosperity in the Pacific. He pointedly requested increased engagement from the US to deter activities he perceives as detrimental to the Pacific island country’s interests.

Unilateral Maritime Authority in Pacific Island Country

Pacific Island Country Empowers US with Unilateral Maritime Enforcement Authority Amid Rising China Tensions (PHOTO: Brad Kemp)

The maritime agreement echoes a similar accord forged between the US and another Pacific island country last year, further solidifying the United States’ commitment to safeguarding shared resources and ensuring maritime security across the region. This latest development aligns with the US Coast Guard’s mission to uphold the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region. Through collaborating closely with Pacific island country, the US aims to bolster the collective capacity to maintain a free and open maritime domain. China’s assertive actions, including trade route blockades, have strained relations and heightened tensions within the South China Sea, prompting smaller nations to seek assistance from the US and its allies. As the Pacific island country agreement was finalized, Philippine vessels, supported by a US Navy surveillance aircraft, successfully navigated through a Chinese coast guard blockade in the disputed South China Sea to deliver crucial supplies to Filipino forces stationed at a contested shoal.

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