- Written by Kevin Kerrigan
The resolution is co-sponsored by Senator Aline Yamashita.
In January of 2009, former President George W. Bush established, by Presidential Proclamation, the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906. The Proclamation also required the establishment of a Mariana Monument Advisory Council to provide advice and make recommendations on the development and management of the monument.
The Council was to include at a minimum three officials of the CNMI government and one representative each from the Department of Defense and the U.S. Coast Guard.
It does not designate a representative from Guam.
Senator Yamashita is quoted in a release from Senator Respicio's office as saying "This Resolution seeks to fix that problem.”
Senator Yamashita says that this resolution is a partner to the resolution she and Senator Respicio introduced yesterday seeking recognition of the rights of Guam, the CNMI, the FSM and Palau to share in whatever "economic gains" result from the recent and any future exploration of the Challenger Deep within the Marianas Trench.
In the same release Senator Respicio commended Senator Yamashita for championing this issue, saying: “she has rightfully placed our attention on the reason that this monument, and this opportunity, exists in the first place. The resolutions seek to deter the geopolitical expansion of China aimed at claiming what should rightfully belong to the people of the CNMI and Guam. Just Google ‘China claims’ and see what pops up. This is why we believe the U.S. created the Marianas, Remote Islands and Rose Atoll monuments, to help counter China’s geopolitical agenda.”
READ Senator Respicio's release in FULL below:
May 3, 2012
For Immediate Release
Resolution calls for Guam seats on Marianas Monument Council; challenges China claims
(Hagatna, Guam) A resolution requesting that Guam be included as a full member of the Mariana Monument Advisory Council, authored by Senators Rory J. Respicio and Aline Y. Yamashita, has been introduced today. Senator Respicio said: “Resolution No. 408-31 (COR) requests that President Barack Obama amend Presidential Proclamation 8335, concerning the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, to place two members from Guam on its Advisory Council, so that Guam has some input into the management of a natural treasure just a short distance from our own shores.”
Senator Yamashita said that this Resolution is a partner to her Resolution No. 405-31 (LS). “Former President George W. Bush’s presidential proclamation for the Marianas Trench (in January 2009) did not include Guam as a member of the Mariana Monument Advisory Council, even though the proclamation itself states that Guam lies at the boundary of the Trench Monument. This Resolution seeks to fix that problem.”
Yamashita added: “In 2009, President Bush signed three ‘Marine National Monument’ proclamations at the same time: the Marianas Trench, the Pacific Remote Islands, and the Rose Atoll. At that time, President Bush said the action was taken ‘to protect the training, readiness, and global mobility of U.S. Armed Forces, and ensure protection of navigation rights and high seas freedoms under the law of the sea, which are essential to the peace and prosperity of civilized nations.’”
Respicio commended Senator Yamashita for championing this issue, saying: “she has rightfully placed our attention on the reason that this monument, and this opportunity, exists in the first place. The resolutions seek to deter the geopolitical expansion of China aimed at claiming what should rightfully belong to the people of the CNMI and Guam. Just Google ‘China claims’ and see what pops up. This is why we believe the U.S. created the Marianas, Remote Islands and Rose Atoll monuments, to help counter China’s geopolitical agenda.”
Respicio noted that the resolution also requests Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo to be an advocate of the resolution’s purpose with Governor Calvo, the Interior Department, members of Congress and the President. Together, the resolutions concerning the Marianas Trench increase awareness of the Challenger Deep’s connection to all of the Marianas Islands, and the important role that Guam plays in the exploration of one of nature’s wonders.
Respicio added, “Over the years, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has made numerous claims to islands, countries, and large bodies of water in the Asia-Pacific region, including all or part of the Yellow Sea; the East and South China Seas; the Philippine Sea; the Spratly Islands; Taiwan, Republic of China (ROC); the Ryuku Islands of Japan; Mongolia; and India. This additional assertion of U.S. claims benefits all of the Marianas and Micronesia.”