Senior Trump administration officials told reporters Monday that they don’t expect China tension or extending U.S. financial aid to be major topics of conversation during a historic meeting planned with the heads of three Pacific nations this week.

President Donald Trump plans to meet with the presidents of Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia on Tuesday. It’s the first time that a U.S. president will meet with all of the leaders of the three countries. They have special defense treaties with the U.S. that allow the U.S. military to control their surrounding waters and airspace.

The White House held an on-background phone call with reporters Monday to discuss the visit.

President Donald Trump walks with First Lady Melania Trump at Joint Base Hickam Pearl Harbor.
President Donald Trump walks with First Lady Melania Trump at Joint Base Hickam Pearl Harbor during a visit in 2017. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2017

The officials said Trump is looking forward to discussing countering illegal fishing, transnational crimes and trafficking and protecting sovereignty as part of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The officials said the U.S. is looking to continue assisting the Pacific nations in strengthening resilience to natural disasters, rising sea levels, soil erosion, invasive species and other threats.

They said discussing China is not the purpose of the meeting, even though China’s overtures in the region are widely believed to have helped prompt Trump’s invitation.

They also told reporters they don’t expect extending U.S. funding to be a major topic of conversation, despite concerns in the region about the impending expiration of funds and potential economic impact.

The officials did not mention recent concerns about citizens of FSM, Palau and the Marshall Islands getting denied federally approved driver’s licenses and state IDs due to new federal rules.

Support public service journalism and your gift will be matched

As a local newsroom, Civil Beat has a unique public service role in times of crisis.

That’s why we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content, so we can get vital information out to everyone, from all communities.

We are deploying a significant amount of our resources to covering the Maui fires, and your support ensures that we can pivot when these types of emergencies arise.

Make a gift to Civil Beat today and your donation will be matched up to $10,000 thanks to the generosity of the WHH Foundation.

About the Author