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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety/PINA) - Taiwan and the Marshall Islands are negotiating the terms of Taipei’s funding support to a trust fund that will replace American aid to this central Pacific nation in 20 years.

Taiwan is committed to supporting the Marshall Islands government’s new trust fund. Only details of how that will happen still need to be negotiated by the two countries, Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Gerald Zackios said.

Reliable sources said a memorandum of understanding signed in late 1998 establishing diplomatic ties included a Taiwan commitment of up to US$50 million toward a trust fund.

For the Marshall Islands, any up-front injection of funds will help get to the level of funds wanted by 2023. This is when annual USA grant funding under a Compact of Free Association is due to end.

The USA is offering to provide US$41.1 million annually to the Marshall Islands starting next October, US$7 million of which would be a trust fund contribution in the first year.

The trust fund contribution from the USA will increase by US$500,000 annually, according to the terms of a recently initialed agreement.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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