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International relations

U.S. nuclear tests hang over Marshall Islands treaty talks

Failure to address compensation, climate change could open door for China

A nuclear weapon is detonated at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 1946. (Image has been colorized.)    © AP

BRISBANE, Australia -- The dozens of U.S. nuclear tests conducted in the Marshall Islands in the 1940s and 1950s continue to hang over a key treaty that is due to be renegotiated later this year.

In 1986, the U.S. struck an agreement known as the Compact of Free Association with the Pacific island group, which is strategically located roughly halfway between Australia and Hawaii. The main points of the COFA are immigration privileges for Marshallese in the U.S., direct economic assistance, and exclusive American defense and security access to the islands and their territorial waters.

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