A member of the Marshall Islands parliament says countries in free association with the United States have in fact become colonies again, as the superpower tightens its grip in all areas of governance.
The Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau should be in free association with the United States.
But Tony de Brum argues the Bush administration has changed that.
"Free Association as it was defined by the original compact, has now been thrashed by the United States so that while we are still called freely associated states our status is more akin to US territories, where the United States makes the call on everything, from appropriating money for pencils to what we are saying in the United Nations. That was not our original concept."
Tony de Brum says the United States can now withhold funds if the associated states do not agree with US policies.
Mr de Brum is now calling on the United Nations to re-assess the status of these countries.