The Nation

About 18,000 residents of the Northern Mariana islands became U.S. citizens as the islands in the central Pacific officially became a U.S. commonwealth. Adm. James Lyons Jr., Pacific Fleet commander, presented Gov. Pedro Toniaro with the first U.S. passport in a Saipan ceremony marking the adoption of commonwealth status under a 1978 agreement. The U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific is being dismantled as islands assume greater self-government while retaining economic ties to the United States, which will provide defense and economic aid.

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