A sovereign nation, Palau conducts its own foreign relations. The nation maintains active and aggressive diplomatic relations with many nations, including most of its neighbors in the Pacific. In August 2002 President Remengesau led heads of state from sixteen other Pacific Islands nations in urging worldwide ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.
On 15 December 1994 Palau was admitted to the UN and later became a member of UNESCO; it has also joined other international organizations. Palau belongs to the Pacific Community (South Pacific Commission—SPC), the South Pacific Forum (SPF), and the Forum Fisheries Agency. Palau holds an associate membership in the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and is seeking full ESCAP membership. It has joined the Asia Pacific Telecommunity, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Palau's relationship with the United States remains primary under the Compact of Free Association, and following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, President Remengesau notified the U.S. that its military would have access to Palau's harbors and airport if they were needed in the war on terrorism. Palau is rapidly growing its ties with Asia, Japan in particular, and with Australia. Palau has formally recognized Taiwan, seeking its investment and tourism. Besides the United States, the Philippines and Japan keep embassies in Palau.
In 2002 Remengesau made official state visits to Japan, China, and Mexico and addressed a session of the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of UN membership for Taiwan. He also urged Palau's Congress to ratify the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.