Kiribati

Bookmark and Share
News
more less
Overview

This central Pacific island nation provides an interesting trivia item for geography buffs who actually know how to pronounce its name correctly (the “ti” makes the “s” sound). Kiribati covers such a vast area of the Pacific Ocean that it includes three separate Exclusive Economic Zones, the 200-mile limit for fishing and mining. Its easternmost island is as far from its westernmost island as New York is from California. A former British colony, upon independence Kiribati was given previously uninhabited islands claimed by the United States and the United Kingdom, and thus its huge expanse of ocean. One of the islands is Christmas (Kiritiimati: Ki-ris-i-mas), the world’s largest coral island. Kiribati has managed to exploit the resources of its vast ocean area and islands, but, as in all atoll nations, rising sea levels from global warming are a real threat.

 
 
more less
Basic Information
Location: Kiribati consists of the Gilbert (Tungaru) and Phoenix Islands, and some of the Line Islands, as well as the once phosphate-rich raised coral island of Banaba. There are some 35 islands in total, scattered over more than 3,200 kilometers of the Pacific Ocean from east to west. The Line group is south of Hawaii, and the Gilbert group is south of the Marshall Islands. The Exclusive Economic Zones (320 km from shore) are incredibly vast.
 
Population: 110,000 (2008 est)
 
Religions: Roman Catholic: 52%; Protestant: 40%; other (Seventh-day Adventist; Baha’i, Muslim, Mormon, Church of God): 8%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Micronesian: 98.2% (Gilbertese and Banaban), 1.8%
 
Languages: I-Kiribati (Gilbertese) and English.
 

 

more less
History
The Gilbert Islands, called Tungaru by the indigenous islanders, were settled almost 3,000 years ago by Austronesian groups moving up from Melanesia. There is evidence that the Phoenix Islands were settled by either Micronesians or Polynesians, but the frequent droughts these islands suffer made permanent communities impossible. The same was true for the Line Islands. The Gilberts were named for a ship captain, Thomas Gilbert, who first reported them to mapmakers in the late 1780s. Once known as fierce warriors, wearing suits of armor made of coconut rope, the Gilbertese eventually allowed beachcombers, traders, and missionaries to settle in. The Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson spent time on some of the atolls and recorded his impressions in his travelogue In the South Seas. Blackbirders (labor traders, often slavers) hurt the islands, capturing and taking away many people. 
 
The Phoenix and Line islands were uninhabited when stumbled upon by whalers and traders. The United States and Britain claimed the islands and did guano mining on some of them. Britain eventually claimed the Gilberts as their colony, combining them with the Polynesian Ellice Island Group to the south, now called Tuvalu. In 1975 the two island groups separated, and in 1979 the nation of Kiribati was born. The spelling comes from the local pronunciation of the word “Gilberts,” a word the Gilbertese found difficult to pronounce. The closest they could get sounded like “kir-i-bus.” Their language lacks an “s”, so the letters “ti” are used to denote that sound. The word that denotes a citizen of the country is “I-Kiribati.” Many changes have happened in the islands, but the people are still proud of their huge thatched meeting houses where they often keep alive their traditional dancing, which they love. 
 
Also in 1979 the United States and Britain gave up claims to the Phoenix and most of the Line group, and they became part of Kiribati. The name was also chosen, instead of Tungaru, because the new nation included more than just the Tungaru Islands. Since independence the islands have struggled with their economy. But fishing license deals, stamps, copra, remittances from islanders working as sailors on ships around the world, and aid from various countries, especially Australia, have kept the group going. 

 

more less
Kiribati's Newspapers
more less
History of U.S. Relations with Kiribati
During World War II, the U.S. Marines fought a ferocious three-day battle with Japanese forces in November 1943 on Betio Islet in the atoll of Tarawa. The Marines captured the island after losing a thousand men. Almost the entire Japanese garrison of 5000 was killed or committed suicide. 
 
In 1979, at the independence of Kiribati, the United States signed a friendship treaty with Kiribati which included relinquishing all claims to the Phoenix and most of the Line Islands. The United States, however, still claims Palmyra, Kingman Reef, and Jarvis Island of the Line Group, and Howland and Baker Islands near the Phoenix group. Small outposts are maintained on some of those islands. 
more less
Current U.S. Relations with Kiribati
The United States has no embassy or consular offices in Kiribati, and the U.S. Ambassador to Fiji is also accredited as the U.S. Ambassador to Kiribati. He visits periodically. The U.S. Peace Corps maintains a presence in Kiribati, with about 40 volunteers scattered over several of the islands. The United States was not happy in 1985 when Kiribati signed a fishing treaty with the then Soviet Union allowing Soviet fishing vessels into the Kiribati Exclusive Economic Zone. The treaty only lasted a year and was not renewed. In 1988 the United States signed its own fishing treaty with Kiribati, and relations have been good. 
 
In 1994 the Kiribati legislature instructed the government to seek compensation from the United States for damage inflicted on the islands in World War II. Some of the Line Islands were also used in nuclear testing by both the United States and the United Kingdom. Concerns about long term harm caused by radiation remain, even as Christmas Island is developed as a copra plantation and as a destination for internal Kiribati migration.
more less
Where Does the Money Flow
In 2007, the United States imported goods worth $1,233,000 from Kiribati. Also in 2007, the United States exported goods worth $1,150,000 to Kiribati. The largest categories were glass and medicinal equipment. There are no U.S. aid programs in Kiribati and all defense needs are provided by Australia.
 
more less
Controversies
more less
Human Rights
more less
Debate
more less
Past Ambassadors
Since 1997, the U.S. Ambassador to Fiji has also served as the U.S. Ambassadors to Kiribati.
David L. Lyon 1/9/03-7/23/05
Ronald McMullen, Charge d’Affaires, 6/01-6/02
Hugh Neighbor, Charge d’Affaires 6/02-1/03
M. Osman Siddique 9/13/99-6/30/01
Don L. Gevirtz 2/2/96-9/28/97
more less
Kiribati's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Paupe, William

Kiribati has no ambassador or embassy in the United States. It doesn’t even have a mission to the United Nations, and allows New Zealand to vote on its behalf by proxy. There is, however, an honorary consulate in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Honorary Consul General is Mr. William E. Paupe, a lawyer in Hawaii who assumed the position on April 16, 1990. A former USAID director in Fiji, Paupe has contributed to the 2008 presidential campaign of John McCain and was a delegate to the 2008 Republican Party Convention.  Paupe has been linked to the 1987 coup attempts in Fiji. Former Prime Minister Timoci Bavadra accused the U.S. of providing $200,000 to Apisai Tora, the leader of the opposing Labour Party. Bavadra suggested that these funds were provided via Paupe,
 

more less
Kiribati's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
Kiribati’s  Consulate in the U.S:   
95 Nakolo Place, Room 265
Honolulu, Hawaii 96819 
Telephone: (808) 834-6775.
more less

Comments

Sun Ward 8 years ago
Greetings, Mr. Paupe. My name is Sun Ward.Recently I have applied for Visa and a Residency Permit to begin mission work at Kiribati Island. Possibly made out to wrong Inc for Visa Fee. Would you kind to help me to correct this problem please? Sincerely. Sun Ward.

Leave a comment

U.S. Ambassador to Kiribati

Reed, Frankie
ambassador-image

Career diplomat Frankie Annette Reed has been chosen to serve as ambassador to the Pacific island nations of Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru. Her Senate confirmation hearing was held on June 29, 2011, and she was confirmed on August 3.

 
A native of Baltimore, Reed holds a BA in journalism from Howard University and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1979. Prior to joining the Foreign Service in 1983, she was a Peace Corps volunteer and a journalist.
 
Reed’s earlier overseas assignments included: political officer in Nairobi, Kenya and Yaoundé, Cameroon; political section chief in Dakar, Senegal, and deputy director in the Office of Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island Affairs.
 
Her early work at the State Department involved being the desk officer in the Bureaus of African Affairs and Western Hemispheric Affairs
 
From 1999 to 2002, Reed was deputy chief of mission in Apia, Samoa.
 
She served as deputy chief of mission in Conakry, Guinea from 2003-2005.
 
Reed was the consul general and deputy U.S. observer to the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France from 2005-2008. 
 
She served as a diplomat-in-residence at the University of California, Berkeley, before becoming deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, responsible for relations with Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Island posts.  
 

more

Previous U.S. Ambassador to Kiribati

McGann, C. Steven
ambassador-image

C. Steven McGann, a longtime member of the Foreign Service whose work has spanned from Africa to South Asia, received his first ambassadorship in being selected to be the United States’ top envoy to Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Tonga, and Nauru. He assumed his position on October 8, 2008.

 
McGann attended university at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1973. He then pursued graduate studies in comparative government at Cornell University (1975-1978).
 
After joining the Foreign Service, his first overseas posts were in Taiwan, Zaire, South Africa, Australia and Kenya.
 
In 1998 McGann was sent to the U.S. Mission at the United Nations, where he developed and implemented Security Council strategies for Afghanistan, Cyprus, Nagorno-Karabakh and Chechnya, as well as peacekeeping operations in Georgia and Tajikistan.
 
In 2000, McGann was appointed South Asia Bureau Deputy Director for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
 
Three years later he earned a Masters of Science degree from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University.
 
 
In 2007, McGann participated in the Fourth Joint Force Maritime Commander Component Course at the Naval War College.
 
 
McGann and his wife, Bertra, have four sons and a daughter.
 

more
Bookmark and Share
News
more less
Overview

This central Pacific island nation provides an interesting trivia item for geography buffs who actually know how to pronounce its name correctly (the “ti” makes the “s” sound). Kiribati covers such a vast area of the Pacific Ocean that it includes three separate Exclusive Economic Zones, the 200-mile limit for fishing and mining. Its easternmost island is as far from its westernmost island as New York is from California. A former British colony, upon independence Kiribati was given previously uninhabited islands claimed by the United States and the United Kingdom, and thus its huge expanse of ocean. One of the islands is Christmas (Kiritiimati: Ki-ris-i-mas), the world’s largest coral island. Kiribati has managed to exploit the resources of its vast ocean area and islands, but, as in all atoll nations, rising sea levels from global warming are a real threat.

 
 
more less
Basic Information
Location: Kiribati consists of the Gilbert (Tungaru) and Phoenix Islands, and some of the Line Islands, as well as the once phosphate-rich raised coral island of Banaba. There are some 35 islands in total, scattered over more than 3,200 kilometers of the Pacific Ocean from east to west. The Line group is south of Hawaii, and the Gilbert group is south of the Marshall Islands. The Exclusive Economic Zones (320 km from shore) are incredibly vast.
 
Population: 110,000 (2008 est)
 
Religions: Roman Catholic: 52%; Protestant: 40%; other (Seventh-day Adventist; Baha’i, Muslim, Mormon, Church of God): 8%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Micronesian: 98.2% (Gilbertese and Banaban), 1.8%
 
Languages: I-Kiribati (Gilbertese) and English.
 

 

more less
History
The Gilbert Islands, called Tungaru by the indigenous islanders, were settled almost 3,000 years ago by Austronesian groups moving up from Melanesia. There is evidence that the Phoenix Islands were settled by either Micronesians or Polynesians, but the frequent droughts these islands suffer made permanent communities impossible. The same was true for the Line Islands. The Gilberts were named for a ship captain, Thomas Gilbert, who first reported them to mapmakers in the late 1780s. Once known as fierce warriors, wearing suits of armor made of coconut rope, the Gilbertese eventually allowed beachcombers, traders, and missionaries to settle in. The Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson spent time on some of the atolls and recorded his impressions in his travelogue In the South Seas. Blackbirders (labor traders, often slavers) hurt the islands, capturing and taking away many people. 
 
The Phoenix and Line islands were uninhabited when stumbled upon by whalers and traders. The United States and Britain claimed the islands and did guano mining on some of them. Britain eventually claimed the Gilberts as their colony, combining them with the Polynesian Ellice Island Group to the south, now called Tuvalu. In 1975 the two island groups separated, and in 1979 the nation of Kiribati was born. The spelling comes from the local pronunciation of the word “Gilberts,” a word the Gilbertese found difficult to pronounce. The closest they could get sounded like “kir-i-bus.” Their language lacks an “s”, so the letters “ti” are used to denote that sound. The word that denotes a citizen of the country is “I-Kiribati.” Many changes have happened in the islands, but the people are still proud of their huge thatched meeting houses where they often keep alive their traditional dancing, which they love. 
 
Also in 1979 the United States and Britain gave up claims to the Phoenix and most of the Line group, and they became part of Kiribati. The name was also chosen, instead of Tungaru, because the new nation included more than just the Tungaru Islands. Since independence the islands have struggled with their economy. But fishing license deals, stamps, copra, remittances from islanders working as sailors on ships around the world, and aid from various countries, especially Australia, have kept the group going. 

 

more less
Kiribati's Newspapers
more less
History of U.S. Relations with Kiribati
During World War II, the U.S. Marines fought a ferocious three-day battle with Japanese forces in November 1943 on Betio Islet in the atoll of Tarawa. The Marines captured the island after losing a thousand men. Almost the entire Japanese garrison of 5000 was killed or committed suicide. 
 
In 1979, at the independence of Kiribati, the United States signed a friendship treaty with Kiribati which included relinquishing all claims to the Phoenix and most of the Line Islands. The United States, however, still claims Palmyra, Kingman Reef, and Jarvis Island of the Line Group, and Howland and Baker Islands near the Phoenix group. Small outposts are maintained on some of those islands. 
more less
Current U.S. Relations with Kiribati
The United States has no embassy or consular offices in Kiribati, and the U.S. Ambassador to Fiji is also accredited as the U.S. Ambassador to Kiribati. He visits periodically. The U.S. Peace Corps maintains a presence in Kiribati, with about 40 volunteers scattered over several of the islands. The United States was not happy in 1985 when Kiribati signed a fishing treaty with the then Soviet Union allowing Soviet fishing vessels into the Kiribati Exclusive Economic Zone. The treaty only lasted a year and was not renewed. In 1988 the United States signed its own fishing treaty with Kiribati, and relations have been good. 
 
In 1994 the Kiribati legislature instructed the government to seek compensation from the United States for damage inflicted on the islands in World War II. Some of the Line Islands were also used in nuclear testing by both the United States and the United Kingdom. Concerns about long term harm caused by radiation remain, even as Christmas Island is developed as a copra plantation and as a destination for internal Kiribati migration.
more less
Where Does the Money Flow
In 2007, the United States imported goods worth $1,233,000 from Kiribati. Also in 2007, the United States exported goods worth $1,150,000 to Kiribati. The largest categories were glass and medicinal equipment. There are no U.S. aid programs in Kiribati and all defense needs are provided by Australia.
 
more less
Controversies
more less
Human Rights
more less
Debate
more less
Past Ambassadors
Since 1997, the U.S. Ambassador to Fiji has also served as the U.S. Ambassadors to Kiribati.
David L. Lyon 1/9/03-7/23/05
Ronald McMullen, Charge d’Affaires, 6/01-6/02
Hugh Neighbor, Charge d’Affaires 6/02-1/03
M. Osman Siddique 9/13/99-6/30/01
Don L. Gevirtz 2/2/96-9/28/97
more less
Kiribati's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Paupe, William

Kiribati has no ambassador or embassy in the United States. It doesn’t even have a mission to the United Nations, and allows New Zealand to vote on its behalf by proxy. There is, however, an honorary consulate in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Honorary Consul General is Mr. William E. Paupe, a lawyer in Hawaii who assumed the position on April 16, 1990. A former USAID director in Fiji, Paupe has contributed to the 2008 presidential campaign of John McCain and was a delegate to the 2008 Republican Party Convention.  Paupe has been linked to the 1987 coup attempts in Fiji. Former Prime Minister Timoci Bavadra accused the U.S. of providing $200,000 to Apisai Tora, the leader of the opposing Labour Party. Bavadra suggested that these funds were provided via Paupe,
 

more less
Kiribati's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
Kiribati’s  Consulate in the U.S:   
95 Nakolo Place, Room 265
Honolulu, Hawaii 96819 
Telephone: (808) 834-6775.
more less

Comments

Sun Ward 8 years ago
Greetings, Mr. Paupe. My name is Sun Ward.Recently I have applied for Visa and a Residency Permit to begin mission work at Kiribati Island. Possibly made out to wrong Inc for Visa Fee. Would you kind to help me to correct this problem please? Sincerely. Sun Ward.

Leave a comment

U.S. Ambassador to Kiribati

Reed, Frankie
ambassador-image

Career diplomat Frankie Annette Reed has been chosen to serve as ambassador to the Pacific island nations of Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru. Her Senate confirmation hearing was held on June 29, 2011, and she was confirmed on August 3.

 
A native of Baltimore, Reed holds a BA in journalism from Howard University and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1979. Prior to joining the Foreign Service in 1983, she was a Peace Corps volunteer and a journalist.
 
Reed’s earlier overseas assignments included: political officer in Nairobi, Kenya and Yaoundé, Cameroon; political section chief in Dakar, Senegal, and deputy director in the Office of Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island Affairs.
 
Her early work at the State Department involved being the desk officer in the Bureaus of African Affairs and Western Hemispheric Affairs
 
From 1999 to 2002, Reed was deputy chief of mission in Apia, Samoa.
 
She served as deputy chief of mission in Conakry, Guinea from 2003-2005.
 
Reed was the consul general and deputy U.S. observer to the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France from 2005-2008. 
 
She served as a diplomat-in-residence at the University of California, Berkeley, before becoming deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, responsible for relations with Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Island posts.  
 

more

Previous U.S. Ambassador to Kiribati

McGann, C. Steven
ambassador-image

C. Steven McGann, a longtime member of the Foreign Service whose work has spanned from Africa to South Asia, received his first ambassadorship in being selected to be the United States’ top envoy to Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Tonga, and Nauru. He assumed his position on October 8, 2008.

 
McGann attended university at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1973. He then pursued graduate studies in comparative government at Cornell University (1975-1978).
 
After joining the Foreign Service, his first overseas posts were in Taiwan, Zaire, South Africa, Australia and Kenya.
 
In 1998 McGann was sent to the U.S. Mission at the United Nations, where he developed and implemented Security Council strategies for Afghanistan, Cyprus, Nagorno-Karabakh and Chechnya, as well as peacekeeping operations in Georgia and Tajikistan.
 
In 2000, McGann was appointed South Asia Bureau Deputy Director for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
 
Three years later he earned a Masters of Science degree from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University.
 
 
In 2007, McGann participated in the Fourth Joint Force Maritime Commander Component Course at the Naval War College.
 
 
McGann and his wife, Bertra, have four sons and a daughter.
 

more