Today, Secretary Mark T. Esper became the first Secretary of Defense to visit Palau. Secretary Esper met with the President of the Republic of Palau and other members of his Cabinet. The two leaders reinforced the importance of the Compact of Free Association and exchanged views on current regional security issues and concerns. Secretary Esper and President Remengesau emphasized their support for the ongoing negotiations to extend the Compact, and they expressed a desire for continued progress and a swift conclusion of the talks. Both leaders agreed to continue coordination of maritime domain awareness activities and reaffirmed their support of USINDOPACOM posture priorities. Furthermore, the two discussed cooperation to uphold a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, and in this context, they stressed the importance of all nations upholding international rules and norms and respecting the sovereignty of all regional countries, no matter their size.