18 Aug 2017

American Samoa seeks greater US protection

3:45 pm on 18 August 2017

American Samoa's Governor Lolo Moliga wants the United States government to recognise the territory is a potential target for North Korea and should be afforded the same treatment and protection given to other US territories.

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American Samoa Governor Lolo Moliga Photo: RNZI / Monica Miller

Last week North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he was reviewing plans to fire missiles at waters near Guam.

However, he has also called for the US to ease tensions and prevent a military clash following comments by US President Donald Trump that any threat would be met with fire, fury and power.

Guam, a US territory and military base, was then assured by Mr Trump that it had his "1000 percent" backing.

Mr Moliga has written to the US Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, to say his government believes American Samoa was strategically valuable as a military staging area and front-line defence, given it's proximity to the Asian rim countries and its central location in the Pacific.

He also reminded the secretary of the many American Samoans who have served in the US armed forces, many of whom have died on deployment.

Mr Moliga said American Samoa was entitled to equal treatment with other states and territories of the US.

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