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German and Japanese Possession
World War II
The Northern Mariana Islands became part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, a United Nations trust territory administered by the United States. Four referenda offering integration with Guam or changes to the islands' status were held in 1958, 1961, 1963 and 1969. On each occasion, a majority voted in favor of integration with Guam. But, this did not happen: Guam rejected integration in a 1969 referendum. The people of the Northern Mariana Islands decided in the 1970s not to seek independence, but instead to forge closer links with the United States and became a U.S. territory in 1975. In 1978, a new government and constitution came into effect.
World War III
The Northern Mariana Islands was defended by the United States through its naval patrols in Guam, along with U.S. Coast Guard Units and the Guam National Guard. In March 1990, China declared war on the United States which made Guam and the CMNI to be one of the high defense priority of the U.S. against a Chinese attack. In April 1990, the People's Liberation Army Navy enacted a blockade of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The Chinese intended to capture Guam to cripple its air base and Northern Mariana Islands for distraction of U.S. forces fighting in South Korea. The limited invasion force only managed to get a foothold in the western part of Guam but never stepped ashore in CMNI. The U.S. would later destroy the blockade, sending the Chinese East Sea Fleet retreating back to China.
Like Guam, the CMNI is well known for being an island holiday destination in the Pacific. The leaders of the island have also proposed forming the Northern Mariana Islands National Guard in case of emergencies such as earthquakes, tsunamis and tropical storms.
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands benefits from its trading relationship with the federal government of the United States and cheap trained labor from Asia. Historically, the CNMI's economy has relied on the garment manufacturing sector and tourism, mostly from Japan.
Just like neighboring Guam, tourism is a main driving force of the economy. Tourists usually go for the territory's pristine beaches to the lush green mountains. Agricultural production produces tapioca, cattle, coconuts, breadfruit, tomatoes, and melons. Fishing is also another source of income.