American Samoa's re-elected delegate to the US Congress, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, says he expects French Polynesia to be able to opt for independence in about 15 years.
Faleomavaega, who has been a senior member of the US House international relations committee, declined to comment on the call by the president of French Polynesia for it to be re-inscribed on the UN list of territories to be decolonised.
But he says French Polynesia's regional standing within the Forum is now similar to that of New Caledonia which is set to have a vote on independence.
"That's the basic rule and policy of the South Pacific Forum. If they want to accept associate standing for territories with the idea that eventually they will become independent. I believe that's the same process France is working with New Caledonia for I don't know how many years."