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    Thursday, September 19, 2019-2:20:04P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Guam governor assured buildup on track

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero received a briefing on the growing influence of China in Micronesia from members of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command during her recent trip to Hawaii.

Leon Guerrero said Tuesday she also received reassurance that the relocation of nearly 5,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa, Japan, to Guam remains on track, despite recent remarks by Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller. Neller acknowledged at a congressional hearing the relocation of Marines to Guam “is worthy of possibly a review.” The Marines who are moving to Guam are expected to arrive in the first half of 2025, the Marine Corps on Guam has stated.

Lourdes Aflague Leon Guerrero

“There are no changes” to the buildup, Leon Guerrero said after she met with Navy Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of the Indo-Pacific Command, and other military officials.

She said Davidson told her “Guam is not just America’s first line of defense, it is the center of defense in this part of the world.”

“They gave us a briefing about the threats here on Guam, both from North Korea and China,” Leon Guerrero said.

The growing size of China’s Navy and the expansion of its diplomatic efforts throughout Micronesia are “a major concern” for the United States, said the governor.

Leon Guerrero said the military officials who briefed her in Honolulu about China’s growing influence told her they gave “the same kind of briefing” to President Donald Trump ahead of his Tuesday meeting at the White House with Republic of Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr., Republic of the Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine and Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo.

“I’m guessing (China) is going to be the main topic of discussion,” the governor said.

It was the first time any U.S. president has held a White House meeting with the three presidents of the Freely Associated States.

Leon Guerrero said Davidson also expressed his support for more skilled foreign labor under the H-2B visa program for Guam military and civilian construction projects.

“He is a friend to us on that issue,” the governor said.

She said Davidson agrees that “our civilian projects relate and align with the military buildup.”