Wesley Simina of Chuuk State is the new president of the Federated States of Micronesia.
He was elected by the FSM Congress at its first meeting last week following the national election in March. Joining him in the executive branch is Vice President Aren Palik of Kosrae, who continues on from a term started two years ago following the death of long-time FSM VP Yosiwo George.
The Nikkei Asia described Simina’s election as “a changing of the guard from a predecessor who had warmed up to Taiwan.” Simina, who has been speaker of the FSM Congress since 2015, in April reaffirmed the FSM’s “One-China” policy with a resolution adopted in April.
Outgoing President David Panuelo of Pohnpei, who lost his bid for reelection in March, had issued a scathing letter soon after the election criticizing the actions of China in the FSM and the region, and alleging multiple bribes and bribe attempt by Chinese officials.
The FSM occupies a unique position in the Pacific. It is the only island nation with a security and defense pact with the United States and also diplomatic ties with China. Both of its Compact of Free Association neighbors, Palau and the RMI, have diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
Simina is expected to meet US President Joe Biden when he’s in Papua New Guinea later this month.