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    President Panuelo Receives Ambassador Fraser, Thanks Australia for its Continuous Friendship & Support


    FSM Information Services

    Press Release

    President Panuelo Receives Ambassador Fraser, Thanks Australia for its Continuous Friendship & Support

    PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On May 15th, 2019, His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), received His Excellency George Fraser, Ambassador of Australia, who requested a courtesy call. The purpose of the meeting was for Ambassador Fraser to congratulate President Panuelo on his election to the highest office, with much of the discussion focusing on strengthening the already strong relationship between FSM and Australia through ongoing and upcoming cooperation programs, in areas ranging from building the Nation’s human capacity and regional security to potential infrastructural assistance through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific.

    President Panuelo extended his appreciation to Ambassador Fraser for Australia’s continuous support for the FSM’s sovereignty and—rather personally—for Australia’s support in human capacity development in the FSM, including his own. “I participated in [an Australian] foreign service training program,” President Panuelo said, referring to his former career in the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs in the 1980s and 1990s, “and I wish to thank Australia for those early days of support, which have been ongoing…I am a product of your diplomatic training.”

    “We appreciate your role in helping our self-determination…and we thank you for the patrol boat program,” continued President Panuelo. Three of the FSM’s patrol boats are donations from the people and Government of Australia, and two patrol boats are currently being produced by Australia for FSM’s receipt in 2021.

    “We see our relationship,” said Ambassador Fraser, “our regional stability, security, and prosperity as linked…. If our Pacific partners and neighbors are secure and stable, then we are also. And that’s the aim of [Australia’s] presence in the FSM and the Pacific—a desire to be partners with our neighbors.”

    It was on the premise of partnership with one’s neighbors that President Panuelo then asked Ambassador Fraser if the FSM could be the host for the upcoming Pacific Fusion Center. “The North Pacific needs more exposure [compared to the South Pacific],” said President Panuelo, who noted that the center would be able to assist the Nation in its commitment to the Technology for Tuna Transparency (T3) Challenge, wherein the FSM seeks to acquire 100% transparency in its tuna fisheries by 2023, and in its ongoing struggle against human trafficking.

    During the 2018 Pacific Islands Forum held in the Republic of Nauru, the Australian Government announced its support to establish the Pacific Fusion Center, which is designed to strengthen the ability of Pacific governments to enforce their laws and protect their sovereignty, including responding to security threats such as illegal fishing and human trafficking.

    “I will convey [the request] to Canberra,” said Ambassador Fraser.

    The remainder of the conversation focused largely on potential infrastructural and human capacity assistance, the former through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP), which offers support for infrastructural project assistance, and the latter through organizations such as the Australian Pacific Security College, which offers courses in maritime security and transnational crime.

    The FSM is dedicated towards producing positive and peaceful relationships with all countries and peoples throughout the world. The FSM and Australia enjoy a particularly positive and peaceful relationship, and it is the hope of the FSM National Government that the FSM and Australia’s partnership will continue to flourish.

    President Panuelo & Ambassador Huang Discuss Strengthening FSM-China Relations


    FSM Information Services

    Press Release

    President Panuelo & Ambassador Huang Discuss Strengthening FSM-China Relations

    PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On May 14th, 2019, His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), met with His Excellency Huang Zheng, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China. The purpose of the meeting was for Ambassador Huang to pay a courtesy call on President Panuelo to congratulate him on his election, with key points of discussion including proposed and ongoing infrastructure projects in the FSM, and President Panuelo’s request that China’s private sector and the FSM’s private sector engage in more cooperation.

    “China was one of the countries that never questioned our sovereignty, and we appreciate that,” said President Panuelo. “I really and sincerely wish to thank you for the development cooperation assistance between our two countries and reiterate strongly, again, the Nation’s support for the One-China Policy.” President Panuelo then cited numerous examples of recent Chinese assistance, such as the secondary roads under construction in Pohnpei State, the Chuuk State Government Complex, educational scholarships, and assistance with vessels and gymnasiums, amongst others, and gave his genuine appreciation and thanks to China for their support to the FSM and its citizens.

    Ambassador Huang congratulated President Panuelo on his election to the highest office in the land, and spoke of how China and the FSM can further promote their partnership. “His Excellency Xi Jinping [President of China] and I wish to join hands with you [President Panuelo and the people of the FSM] to further promote our relations to a new high,” Ambassador Huang said.

    Proposed examples of additional cooperation between the FSM and China include new potential infrastructure projects, such as the renovation of the Pohnpei State Government Complex, and upgrades to Chuuk State’s roads. The FSM National Government, via the FSM Embassy in Beijing and the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs, is working closely with the Chinese Embassy to begin these dialogues.

    In addition, Ambassador Huang invited President Panuelo to formally visit China and discuss with His Excellency Xi Jinping, President of China, to further discuss how the FSM and China can cooperate on the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), which President Panuelo accepted for a to-be-determined date in the future. President Panuelo also emphasized his hope that China’s private sector would be able to more closely cooperate with the FSM’s private sector, with the goals of economic development and meaningful job creation for the FSM’s citizens being of paramount importance.

    After the courtesy call was a brief ceremony wherein the Honorable Lorin S. Robert, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and Ambassador Huang signed documentation regarding China’s recent assistance to the FSM for Typhoon Wutip disaster relief.

    The FSM is dedicated towards producing positive and peaceful relationships with all countries and peoples throughout the world. September 11th, 2019, marks the 30th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between the FSM and China, and it is the hope of the FSM National Government that the FSM and China will be able to cooperate more closely over the next 30 years and beyond.

    President Panuelo Meets with Close-Up Students, Offers Insight for FSM’s Development


    FSM Information Services

    Press Release

    President Panuelo Meets with Close-Up Students, Offers Insight for FSM’s Development

    PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On May 14th, 2019, His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), met with 11th and 12th grade students affiliated with the Close-Up extracurricular program, who visited the Office of the President as part of a larger tour of the FSM National Government. The students, hailing from across the FSM and representing both public and private schools, were given the opportunity, and encouraged, to ask President Panuelo questions about anything they wanted to.

    “The Office of the President, this office, is your office,” said President Panuelo in his welcoming remarks. “I may represent you abroad, but I am always your servant.”

    Before the question and answer session, President Panuelo offered a few words of advice. “I was once like you, and [when I was in high school] I didn’t really think about what my career would be. So…what I want to tell you is that I have been through it, and that whatever you feel passionate about—turn it into your career,” said President Panuelo. “I want to emphasize how important each and every one of you are to our nation-building process…without you, we won’t go anywhere.”

    President Panuelo encouraged the students to participate in society and in government, to “read the news and interact with people,” noting that, while the Nation has laws that are intended to lay the foundation for our democracy, “the best law is our conscience…we will only grow if we respect our environment, if we care for one another, and we actively participate.”

    Several students had the opportunity to ask questions directly to President Panuelo, who asked that they speak to him as if they were talking to a friend.

    One young woman from Kosrae asked a question about President Panuelo’s views on female empowerment in the FSM, including whether or not the FSM is currently doing enough to represent women’s interests.

    “I really believe in women’s empowerment,” said President Panuelo, noting that two of the candidates in the March 5th, 2019 Congressional Election in the State of Pohnpei were women. “Our constitution guarantees equal representation for women in all of our offices.” President Panuelo advised that, in his view, the most efficient way for women to achieve representation in the Congress of the FSM is for women to work together as one.

    Another young woman from Kosrae asked a question about the FSM’s economic development—particularly, what can the FSM do to grow its economy other than relying upon the two trust funds?

    “Economic development for our country is the most challenging thing so far, but we do generate about 60-70 million from our oceans every year,” said President Panuelo. “As for the private sector...growth has been slow because so much of it is wholesale or retail; we’d like to see more development in export-oriented types of businesses.” President Panuelo encouraged the students to be proactive in coming up with potential business ventures, and cited a few examples of encouraging growth in the FSM, such as the Vital/FSM Petroleum Corporation factory being established on Tonoas Island in Chuuk State.

    One young man from Pohnpei advised that he didn’t have a specific question, but that he wanted to share the problems at his school. “I need your help,” said the young man, who explained that his public high school has shortages ranging from not enough chairs for students sit on, not enough clean water for the students to drink, not enough textbooks for the students to read and study from, and crowded buses.

    “As your President, I have to apologize for that,” said President Panuelo. “For you, as a student to come here and say these things—I feel your pain, and applaud your courage.” President Panuelo and the student shook hands to an equally applauding crowd.

    President Panuelo then explained that although the FSM Department of Education doesn’t have jurisdiction over Pohnpei’s schools—the Pohnpei State Government does—that this administration intends to put more resources and effort into educational support and initiatives throughout the Nation, from Yap and Chuuk to Pohnpei and Kosrae.

    Finally, one young woman from Chuuk, noting the recent online discussions about Micronesians in the U.S. State of Hawaii being denied the capacity to obtain driver’s licenses, asked a question about discrimination against Micronesians abroad.

    “The good news is that I met with the U.S. Ambassador yesterday, and we are working to address that issue [regarding driver’s licenses]; that problem will disappear soon,” said President Panuelo. “But on the issue of discrimination on a social basis, yes we can experience that…and you can understand why, people [may not understand], or try to protect their turf—and ignorance can play into it. So what I would say is that when you experience these things, try to really—in a calm and peaceful way—approach people respectfully, mingle with the people, talk with them, and get to know them.”

    “Yes [some of us] are experiencing discrimination,” continued President Panuelo, “But what I have to tell you is to be proud of who you are, and be proud of who we are, as Micronesians. Negative news will always follow us, but it’s up to all of us together to make the difference in those places.”

    President Panuelo thanked the students for visiting the Office of the President, and urged them again to stay focused on their education and find a way to turn their interests into their future careers.

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