Diplomat reaffirms America's commitment to Samoa as Presidential races hangs in the balance

Regardless of what happens in the United States Election, the Charge d’Affaires of the American Embassy in Samoa, Jonathan Lee Yoo, says his nation will continue to work with Samoa to champion freedom and advance democracy.

While the eyes of the world were firmly fixed on the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election on Wednesday, Mr. Yoo sat down with the Samoa Observer to share his thoughts on one of the most controversial U.S. elections in history.

“This is American democracy in action," he said. "The entire world is watching. The people of the U.S.A., tens of millions of U.S. citizens cast their ballots. We don’t take this remarkable moment for granted."

There are billions of people around the world who have no voice in deciding who represents them, people who have no say in the laws that govern them and they have no right to speak freely or decide on government policies, he reminded.

“So I am proud that this is what both the U.S. and Samoa stand for together,” Mr. Yoo said.

Both candidates, incumbent Republican, President Donald John Trump and Democrat Joe Biden have repeatedly talked about the need to build a better future for all Americans and to create opportunities.

“They have both emphasised the importance of prioritizing freedoms, liberties and livelihoods and both candidates have emphasised the importance of education and building up future generations,” said the diplomat.

Both Trump and Biden want to foster science and research and work toward solving national and global challenges such as sustainable development, global health, food security and energy.

“In my position as Charge d’Afffaires, I’m required to be non-partisan,” said Mr. Yoo.

The campaign season has been “spirited” he said, that reflect the United States’ deep commitment to free speech, civic engagement and the democratic process.

“Free and fair elections are part of our shared values with Samoa,” he added.

Samoan communities have shown a strong interest in the elections, he said.

“Whatever the outcome, the U.S. will continue to work together with Samoa to champion freedom and democracy to stand up for the international rules-based order and to promote peace and prosperity across the Indo-Pacific,” Mr. Yoo said.

Whatever the challenge, he said, Samoa and the U.S. “are free nations built and defended by free people” and ”built and defended by (their) Constitutions.”

U.S. National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien’s announcement to study the basing of United States Coast Guard cutters in American Samoa signals America’s commitment to support partners who have limited off-shore surveillance enforcement. 

Together, he said the U.S. and their partners would conduct maritime security missions like fisheries patrols.

“I would remind all that the strength of U.S.-Samoa relations transcends administrations, political parties and elections. Regardless of who wins I am proud that Americans from across the US and those abroad have had the opportunity to cast their ballots and make their voice heard,” said Mr. Yoo.

The U.S. Embassy Samoa hosted an event in Vailima on Election night.  Invited guests participated in a mock election and viewed the televised results of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, that last well into the night.

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