The move, which claims more than 50 per cent support to end 30 years of nationhood, is coming from some of the leaders of Chuuk, one of four island states that make up the FSM.
In the decades since Micronesian nations such as the FSM, Palau and the Marshall Islands became independent, the North Pacific has been largely peaceful and politically stable, compared to the coups and ethnic conflicts in the South Pacific on Bougainville, the Solomon Islands and Fiji.
The FSM is considered the most complex of the region’s nations, with independence rumblings not only from Chuuk but to a lesser extent from Yap, another of the country’s island states.
Chuuk, also known as Truk, has the largest population of the four main islands, with 53,000 people. It is famous for its vast lagoon, which is a diving Mecca after dozens of Japanese ships were sunk there by American warplanes in 1944. During World War II the Japanese used Chuuk as their main regional naval base, earning the nickname the Gibraltar of the Pacific.
Today, with its poor roads and lack of economic growth, it still seems part of a bygone era. Read more.
SOURCE: ABC NEWS. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY BEN BOHANE.