Decolonization official shares insight on Chuuk’s self-determination

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Melvin Won Pat-Borja, Commission on Decolonization executive director shares his perspective on Chuuk’s secession plans and its implications to Guam’s own self-determination efforts.

When asked about the implications of Chuuk’s secession plan and its implications to Guam’s own self-determination efforts, Melvin Won Pat-Borja, Commission on Decolonization executive director said “It is important for us to take note of this stance”

“However, I think that we are not pursuing our self-determination and decolonization indirectly through the federal government, through the United States. This vehicle is really created for us through the United Nations, in an international arena,” Won Pat-Borja added.

The Chuuk independence referendum vote was supposed to occur on Mar 5 to coincide with the FSM national elections. However, the government announced that the referendum had been indefinitely postponed.

Won Pat-Borja said the United Nations passed General Assembly Resolution 1541, which details the process for Guam’s self-determination process.

The resolution outlined three options for Guam’s plebiscite: full integration or statehood, independence, and free association. WonPat-Borja pointed out that the status voted on by the people may not necessarily mirror existing models. He stressed the importance of going through the proper process as laid out by the UN.

“We are pursuing this through the international process, not through a federal process,” Won Pat-Borja said, adding “I would argue that it’s almost irrelevant what the United States wants.”

Robert Riley, the US Ambassador to the FSM, warned the citizens of Chuuk on the potential ramifications of their decision to secede from the federated states.

“The current Compact of Free Association is with the Federated States of Micronesia and
therefore does not cover a separate entity of Chuuk. That’s a legal distinction that is non-negotiable,” Riley said.

Chuuk signed a Compact of Free Association with the US as part of the FSM,

Riley added, “There’s no bad intent involved here or malevolent intent. It’s just that the Compact is with the Federated States of Micronesia and in order for there to be another compact with Chuuk, there would have to be a separate compact negotiated. That, unfortunately, will not happen.”