CNMI asks Air Force to drop Saipan plan

7:03 pm on 15 December 2015

The government of the Northern Marianas says it wants the US Air Force to withdraw its plan to build a divert airfield on Saipan.

The governor Eloy Inos says the US desire to acquire more land on Saipan for that purpose runs counter to the legal foundations of the CNMI's relationship with the US.

The CNMI government says instead of using Saipan as part of a hybrid plan, the Air Force should just use the island of Tinian because two thirds of its land is already being leased by the Department of Defense.

The acting governor Ralph Torres said because the Air Force wants Saipan included, the divert project now threatens to undo the touchstone agreement upon which the people of the Northern Marianas Islands agreed to join the American family of states.

Mr Torres also says the Air Force has failed to live up to its promises to build a base on Tinian and solely using it as a divert base could fulfill that shortcoming.

Saipan airport, CNMI

Saipan airport, CNMI Photo: Free google search image