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‘Potential threat to regional stability’ | U.S. Pacific Islanders voice concern over China

Guam is home to more than 22,000 American military personnel and their families, with another 5,000 Marines expected to be relocated there soon from Okinawa.

Roughly one-third of the 36-mile-long island is under Defense Department control. The U.S. territory is strategically situated 3,300 miles west of Hawaii, and 1,500 miles east of the Philippine Sea.

Guam leaders are concerned with what they believe to be an increasing belligerence from China.

“China’s intentions indicate a potential threat to regional stability,” said Lourdes Leon Guerrero, the governor of Guam.

“China has made it a point to make known their presence, open checkbooks and influence right here in our backyard,” said Tina “Muna” Barnes, Vice Speaker, Guam Legislature.

Members of the House Committee on Natural Resources pledged support, during an oversight field hearing Thursday in Guam, titled “Peace Through Strength: The Strategic Importance of the Pacific Islands to U.S.-led Global Security.”

“Beijing is fully aware of the strategic importance of Guam to the U.S. Our fight today is to preserve freedom across the U.S. territories and for all the U.S. allies in the Pacific,” said Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Arkansas).

“I can assure you that every one of the people on this panel will be taking that message back to Washington, DC, describing the interests of Guam and the surrounding islands, and why they are so important, not only to all of us as American citizens, but again to freedom around the world,” said Rep. Harriet Hageman (R) Wyoming.

Guam is one of three permanently inhabited U.S. territories in the Pacific, along with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa. 

Source : 13 News Now