Yun’s first visit to Majuro

US Compact chief negotiator Ambassador Joseph Yun was greeted on arrival at Nitijela November 3 by Speaker Kenneth Kedi, his wife Theresa and a team of Nitijela staff singing welcome songs. The welcome of Yun, who is followed here by US Ambassador Roxanne Cabral, was a demonstration of the cordiality of the interactions between the US and RMI during Yun’s visit. Photo: Hilary Hosia.

On arrival at Nitijela Thursday for a courtesy call with Speaker Kenneth Kedi soon after arriving in a US government jet, US Special Envoy for Compact negotiations Joseph Yun and his team were greeted Marshallese style with singing and leis in the Nitijela lobby, an island welcome for the visitors who were plied with handicrafts and handshakes.

Early Friday morning, the US and RMI negotiators flew to Enewetak to meet the community and take a boat ride north to Runit Island to see the nuclear waste storage facility known as the Runit Dome. The all-day visit to Enewetak featured the Enewetak community’s police honor guard welcome, followed by singing for the US and RMI delegations, and exchanges on the nuclear legacy. The visit to the Runit Dome was a first for most of the group that day.

A dinner was scheduled for their return at Marshall Islands Resort that night — that didn’t start until around 9pm — with the team coming straight from the airport, salt-encrusted and sunburned, for more interaction with RMI leaders, food, speeches and informal discussions.

The visit was cordial and productive, according to both sides, with Speaker Kedi describing the environment of the negotiations thus: “The wind is changing.”

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