PNG leader Marape tells Australia economic growth brings security

Feb 8, 2024

Sydney: Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape Told the Australian Parliament on Thursday that his country's economic growth will Australia More secure, saying that nothing will come between the two neighbors.
Marape's speech at the national parliament in Canberra is the first by a Pacific Island leader, as Australia competes with China for influence and security ties in the region.
PNG “We need to become a self-reliant economy,” Marape told Australian lawmakers.
“A stronger economically empowered Papua New Guinea means a stronger and more secure Australia and the Pacific region,” he said in a televised speech. “In a world of many relations with many countries, nothing will come between our two countries because we are family.”
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese highlighted the historical and geographical proximity of the two countries and Australia's support for PNG roads, port upgrades, clean energy and hospitals, as well as new undersea telecommunications cables.
Australia wants to secure PNG's future as its “primary partner”, he said.
Australia is the biggest aid donor to its northern neighbour, and in December signed a security pact covering policing and defence. Both countries count China as a major trading partner.
Marape is seeking progress in implementing a A$200 million ($131 million) security and policing agreement during his visit, following deadly riots during a police strike in PNG's capital Port Moresby in January.
In a joint statement on Thursday after the two leaders met, Marape and Albanese said they discussed defense and security, including a $100 million Australian loan to boost PNG's internal security, including new police training facilities and barracks. Will be spent.
The statement noted growing ties between the defense forces of the two countries, including joint exercises, construction of a naval base and the provision of a patrol boat and two aircraft by Australia.
“The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the region's existing security architecture as a key driver of security cooperation,” it said, adding that they plan to build regional policing capacities in consultation with other Pacific leaders. look forward for.
Earlier, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong Marape's speech in parliament showed Australia wanted greater engagement with the Pacific region, he told reporters.
“We know that China is a great power asserting its interests. What we are doing is re-emphasizing its role in the Pacific family and the importance of that engagement.” wong Said.
Foreign Minister Justin Tkachenko told Reuters last week that China had approached PNG with an offer to assist its police force with training, equipment and surveillance technology, although no decision had been made. He told the ABC on Wednesday that PNG would not proceed with a security deal with China.

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