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Marshall Islands [Shutterstock]

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U.S. Relationship

U.S.-Marshall Islands Relations

After gaining military control of the Marshall Islands from Japan in 1944, the U.S. assumed administrative control of the Marshall Islands under United Nations auspices as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands following the end of World War II. The Marshall Islands signed a Compact of Free Association with the United States in 1983 and gained independence in 1986 with the Compact's entry into force. From 1999-2003, the two countries negotiated an Amended Compact that entered into force in 2004.

U.S. Assistance to the Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands is an isolated, sparsely populated, low-lying Pacific island country consisting of approximately 70 sq. miles of land spread out over 750,000 sq. miles of ocean just north of the equator. These characteristics make it vulnerable to transnational threats, natural disasters, and effects of climate change. U.S. assistance focuses on supporting health, education, and infrastructure in the Marshall Islands, as well as the RMI’s ability to perform maritime security functions and strengthen climate resilience through disaster preparedness. The U.S. provided $5.1 million in drought assistance in 2013.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The economy of the Marshall Islands is closely linked to that of the United States, and its GDP is derived mainly from U.S. payments under the terms of the Compact of Free Association. The U.S. Army garrison on Kwajalein Atoll is the number two employer in the RMI. Through the Compact, the U.S. provides significant financial support to the Republic of the Marshall Islands to help achieve the Compact goals of economic self-sufficiency. The U.S. is one of the Marshall Islands' top trading partners, and the Marshall Islands has expressed interest in attracting U.S. investment. The Marshall Islands sells fishing rights to other nations as a source of income. Under the multilateral U.S.-Pacific Islands tuna fisheries treaty, the U.S. provides an annual grant to Pacific island parties, including the Marshall Islands, for access by licensed U.S. fishing vessels.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future