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PALIKIR, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (February 23, 2000 – FSM Information Service) – The FSM Justice Department reported during the President’s Cabinet meeting yesterday that an FSM patrol boat fired warning shots at a fishing vessel fleeing arrest last weekend.

The FSM patrol boat was participating in Operation Bigeye 2000, a combined nationwide exercise with the United States Coast Guard and the Australian Air Force, which also used Canadian satellite imagery. The exercise caught the entire foreign fishing fleet off guard, said Lam Dang, acting attorney general.

After the FSM patrol boat fired an automatic weapon across the bow, the fleeing fishing boat stopped and was arrested in connection with illegal fishing and escorted to Chuuk State, said Dang.

No one was injured, said Dang.

One other boat was arrested in connection with illegal fishing in the operation and taken to Yap State, and many fishing boats were boarded and checked for proper documents, said Dang.

"This was the first time in a long time that a FSM patrol boat had to fire warning shots," said Dang.

In other Cabinet Meeting News: President Leo A. Falcam reported that his trip to the prayer breakfast permitted him to meet U.S. President Bill Clinton for about 40 minutes. President Falcam also said that he and his staff were able to establish a conduit to the White House for the purposes of Compact of Free Association contact.

During the breakfast, the President gave the opening prayer before the 3,000 attendees from governments worldwide. In doing this, the location, name, and history of the FSM were presented by the prayer coordinator. These were remembered by the many heads of state who later spoke with him, said the President.

President Falcam also said he was able to meet and explain much about the FSM to many U.S. Senators and Representatives during the meetings he had during the time he spent there. Among those he met were Representative Denny Hastert, speaker of the House of Representatives; Senator Trent Lott, majority leader of the Senate; Senator Connie Mack from Florida; Senator Daniel Akaka from Hawai‘i; Ralph Regula, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations with special oversight of the Department of Interior and related agencies; and Guam Congressman Robert Underwood.

The President was also able to talk with the Secretary of Interior and the American Compact Chief Negotiator Al Stayman.

Foreign Affairs also reported that the upcoming Presidential trip to Beijing, China, is scheduled for March 26 to 31. During this trip President Falcam is scheduled to meet the President and Premier of China. Discussions will focus on four areas: Economic cooperation between the two nations; China’s interest in the Pacific region; the one-China policy; and how to cooperate with China on the international level in light of the Compact of Free Association with the United States.

Foreign Affairs also reported that Israel is prepared to renew its invitation for the FSM president to visit. The timing is still being worked out.

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