U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper called Gov. Ralph DLG Torres over the phone on Saturday to convey his commitment to a stronger relationship with the CNMI.
Torres expressed his gratitude for support from the Department of Defense during the CNMI’s past emergencies and disasters, including the COVID-19 pandemic, while also reemphasizing the need for the CNMI and DoD to have a stronger relationship in military discussions.
“The CNMI has been devastated by Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu in 2018 and severely impacted by COVID-19 this year. The Department of Defense was among the top federal partners who assisted us during our typhoon recovery, as well as sending medical workers to assist our hospital in our COVID-19 response. We are very grateful to President Trump, Secretary Esper, USINDOPACOM, Joint Region Marianas, and our men and women in uniform for their support during these unprecedented times,” said Torres.
“As part of the first line of defense with Guam and as proud Americans, the CNMI understands the critical role it plays for our national security. However, we also know that this partnership can be stronger with the CNMI having a stronger voice in military consultations and overall matters relating to our islands and our national security. I thank Secretary Esper for listening to my concerns, as well as his commitment to a stronger partnership between the CNMI and DoD. I look forward to meeting with him in the near future,” said Torres.
Secretary Esper, who is in the Pacific to visit Palau, Guam, and Hawaii, discussed fostering a stronger network with the CNMI and the other U.S. territories and Micronesian states for the security of the Asia-Pacific region.
“We appreciate all that the people of the CNMI do for the Department of Defense and the vital role they play in our national security. I look forward to meeting with [Governor Torres] on his next trip to D.C.,” said Secretary Esper on his official Twitter account. (PR)