11 Jul 2018

CNMI assures Washington it is proudly American

4:24 pm on 11 July 2018
Imperial Pacific Resort

Imperial Pacific Resort Photo: RNZI/Mark Rabago

The Northern Marianas says its dealings with the Hong Kong-based company building the Saipan casino and other Chinese investors are purely business and its loyalty remains with the United States.

This comes after a federal report noted the possible implications for US military defence interests as a result of China's presence in Micronesia.

But the governor of the CNMI, Ralph Torres, said the territory was proudly American and that his government was only looking out for the welfare of its people.

He said due to the difficulties involved in operating a successful enterprise in a region that is geographically distant from the U.S. mainland and in need of economic growth, foreign investment is a necessary and important component of his administration's plans to improve living standards.

A US/China Economic and Security Review Commission report earlier linked local opposition to components of the US's Joint Military Training proposal in the CNMI to Chinese investments in the region.

The report said the rapid growth in Chinese investment and influx of Chinese tourists is fueling opposition to U.S. Department of Defense plans from business executives, local politicians, and residents.