The U.S. now has the authority to enforce maritime law around a tiny Pacific island country.
The nation of Palau recently signed off an agreement with Washington allowing the U.S. Coast Guard troops to patrol inside its exclusive economic zone—without a Palauan officer on site.
This follows requests from Palau’s president asking for more U.S. backing to push back on Beijing’s aggression in nearby waters.
He added that China’s targeted actions might be a show of retaliation. That’s because Palau is one of just thirteen countries that still recognizes Taiwan as a sovereign nation and maintains formal diplomatic relations.
For decades, the Chinese Communist Party sees Taiwan as its own territory and has vowed to take it by force if necessary despite never having ruled it.