Connecting the dots on West Papua, Part 1
There is no such thing as a Christian nation

When China versus the USA, where are we?

Kuri    Cleverly
UK foreign minister Cleverly and PNG foreign minister Tkatchenko after signing a security agreement - "a sheer weight of words that mean absolutely nothing"


PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea has been publicly stating – through official and media sources – that the Chinese don’t have to worry about the long list of security arrangements we are developing with the USA and its allies.

Despite this, however, it is quite clear where PNG is aligned in terms of the growing geopolitical uproar in the Indo–Pacific region.

The recent visit here by UK foreign minister James Cleverly signalled yet another tightening of security arrangements between PNG and the UK.

Offering as an excuse the long history of PNG’s status as a member of the Commonwealth, these agreements have been drafted with the clear purpose of hindering China’s aims to achieve its goals in the Indo-Pacific.

One could conclude that, given PNGs geographical location, we have the ability to play to both polarities – the US alliance and China.

But foreign minister Justin Tkatchenko’s statements on the matter have been quite lame - timid even – and have not given any clear direction as to where PNG wants to position itself.

It seems to me that this thread of diplomacy is likely to rupture at any moment under the sheer weight of words that mean absolutely nothing.

PNG’s sitting on the fence shows that the government doesn’t have a clear idea of where PNG sees itself in this geopolitical contest.

It has been caught off guard, only now fully realising the implications of the superpowers increasing their efforts to be globally dominant while suppressing competitors.

It doesn’t make sense for PNG to keep signing security agreements with Western allies while maintaining a stance of ‘friend to all and enemy to none’.

If this stance is genuine and credible, PNG should be seeking a security arrangement with China.

Signing multiple security arrangements with US allies is a clear sign of PNG’s alignment with the US. China is not stupid.

China’s People’s Liberation Army had a defence budget of $270 billion (K950 billion) in 2021. So let’s not kid ourselves that PNG is a player in the Indo-Pacific.

PNG is not a player. PNG is a pawn on the chessboard. Sooner or later PNG will trip over when trying to explain itself out of the mess she is creating for herself.

At least the Pacific elders had the balls to warn against the AUKUS agreement, citing that it magnifies the threat of war in the region, which is more than I can say for our leaders in PNG.

To all those geopolitical analysts drafting the security arrangements between the various US allies, be careful not to make PNG a battlefield.

Whenever the worst happens, the powers will try to take the fight away from their own lands and their own people.

We don’t want that. And that’s why I would rather PNG have clear direction and focus. We do not want to become collateral damage.


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