Palau. In June, Palau was reported to follow Indonesia’s example and began to fire foreign ships caught fishing illegally in the country’s waters. According to COUNTRYAAH, Melekeok is the capital of Palau which is located in Micronesia. Several Vietnamese fishing vessels had then been captured and burned. The captains were detained while the crews were sent home. Palau’s President Tommy Remengesau hoped that the measures would send a clear signal to the outside world that the country does not tolerate predatory fishing in its territorial waters.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for Palau country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.
In September, formal diplomatic relations were established between Palau and Cuba. This was done at a ceremony with both countries’ presidents present at a UN meeting in New York.
In October, it was announced that the government approved the creation of a marine nature reserve that will occupy 80% of the country’s offshore territory, which corresponds to an area almost as large as Sweden’s land area. The area will be protected from fishing and oil drilling. President Remengesau commented on the decision by stating that even small island nations can have a great influence over what happens with the world oceans.
HUMAN AND ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
Island state of Oceania, located in the western Pacific, consisting of four islands of volcanic origin, four of coral origin and a few hundred smaller islands and uninhabited islets that form the western section of the Caroline archipelago. Having only gained independence from the United States in 1994, Palau is one of the youngest (and least populous) nations in the world. At the 2000 census the residents were 19,129 (rising to just over 20,500 to a 2005 estimate), more than half concentrated in the capital Koror.
The main ethnic group is made up of the Palauans (70 %) of Melanesian stock, followed by minorities of Micronesians, Polynesians, Europeans and Asians (mainly Filipinos).
The country, which is still heavily dependent on US aid, boasts one of the highest living standards in the Pacific and a per capita income of $ 7,630 (2005), far higher than that of neighboring Micronesia. The economy, traditionally based on agriculture and fishing (the main export products are copra, obtained from the coconut palm, and tuna), sees a clear prevalence of services, which contribute about 80 % to the formation of the GDPalau, giving employment to three quarters of the active population. In particular, tourism has experienced a notable expansion, on which the country is counting in order to cope with the end of US economic support scheduled for 2009.: in fact, the United States, on the basis of a free assistance agreement signed in 1994 and in exchange for a control over the country’s foreign policy, guaranteed financial aid of 600 million dollars, intended to support the development of the archipelago. In 2004 they were registered just under 80,000 entries, but the local tourist industry should soon benefit from the expansion of air traffic in the Pacific and the increasing wealth of many East Asian countries.