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Remengesau says Palau needs allies for economic development

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KOROR (Island Times/Pacnews) — President Tommy Remengesau Jr. said Palau needs allies to develop its economy, adding that some politicians are giving the public false hopes by promising economic self-sufficiency

In an interview following the short visit of U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Remengesau said Palau’s development opportunities will expand with the help of bigger nations.

“You can talk about being economically self-sufficient, that’s always a good goal, but don’t give too many false hopes to the people, because it’s not going to happen during our lifetime. We are going to depend on friendship, and generosity and grants,”  he said.

Remengesau said no country can  depend on its own resources alone, adding that partnership with other nations is essential for survival.

“If someone running for president would tell me that he will make Palau self-sufficient in four years or eight years, I am going to tell him, I am sorry, you can only do that in heaven, because it is only in heaven where everything is self-sufficient.”

Remengesau said Palau can continue to improve its economy and its friendship with economic superpowers such as the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, or South Korea 

He said strong alliances combined with diversification of the economy could be key to growth opportunities in the future.

The Pacific islands are in one of the most aid-dependent regions in the world, he added, and Palau’s economy is dependent on the economic provisions of its Compact with the U.S.

During Esper’s visit in Palau, Remengesau highlighted the need for American presence in the region especially during the Covid-19 crisis pandemic.

“[There is also a] need for the U.S to provide more direct assistance to Palau so that we can survive this critical period,” Remengesau added.

Negotiations to renew the economic package of the Compact of Free Association have started with the U.S. saying it wants to conclude the deal by the end of the year.

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