A former United States congressman for Guam says Pacific Islands Forum leaders need to set their own house in order before worrying about external forces.
With four Micronesian leaders wanting to leave the forum, the regional body is dealing with the biggest threat to regional unity since it was formed.
In a recent summit, members spoke about the strength of the collective in dealing with climate change, Covid-19 and the increase in foreign interest in the Pacific.
But former US congressman for Guam, Robert Underwood, said forum leaders needed to look inwards before looking outwards.
He believes it is not too late to have Micronesian remain in the Pacific Islands Forum.
Mr Underwood said the forum members should discover new avenues to ensure Micronesian concerns were heard instead of just telling them to come back to the fold.
“Micronesia was always seen as part of the household, but maybe not quite in the living room,” he said.
Mr. Underwood said Pacific nations needed to address their differences and find a way to work together to address growing foreign influence in the region.
“The Pacific Islands Forum could be a major force today in dealing with the forces coming into the (region) in terms of strategic and commercial competition,” he said.