The steep rise in new Covid cases in PNG that has alarmed authorities on both sides of the Torres Strait
| Nikkei Asia
SYDNEY -- Papua New Guinea long appeared to have escaped the worst of the coronavirus crisis. But a surge in cases since February has brought the country’s largest hospital to the brink of collapse.
For the nation's much larger neighbour, Australia, the outbreak is considered a serious threat as well as a critical moment in a broader ‘vaccine diplomacy’ campaign.
Continue reading "Oz diplomacy tested as Covid slams PNG" »
ERYK BAGSHAW & RACHEL CLUN
with BEVAN SHIELDS
| Sydney Morning Herald | Extracts
SYDNEY - Two of Australia’s top infectious disease and immunology experts say Papua New Guinea should take up the offer of Chinese-made vaccines if they are safe, as Europe threatens to withhold vaccine deliveries and PNG teeters on the edge of a Covid-19 disaster.
China has made repeated overtures to Papua New Guinea in recent months, offering to send vaccines to the country to “support each other’s core interests”.
Continue reading "Call for PNG to accept Chinese vaccines" »
Hon Scott Morrison MP
SCOTT MORRISON MP
Motion to acknowledge the life and service of the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare delivered in the Parliament of Australia by Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison on 16 March 2021, as recorded in Hansard.
CANBERRA - Mr Speaker, I move that this House acknowledge the passing on the 26th of February 2021 of Papua New Guinea Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and place on record its gratitude of his long-standing and respected relationship with Australia and tender its profound sympathy to his family in their bereavement.
Continue reading "Australia records gratitude to Grand Chief" »
| John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations | Edited
CANBERRA - Last month, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) announced that its executive director, Peter Jennings, had warned another ostensibly independent think tank, the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), that China may trigger a major military crisis over Taiwan in the coming year.
The catalysts are held to be twofold: the forthcoming centenary of the Chinese Communist Party and the domestic turmoil in the US resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Continue reading "ASPI, sycophancy & deepening strategic corruption" »
Deng Xiaoping rejected orthodox communist ideology in favour of ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics' - but the West misread what this meant
ADELAIDE - As one of PNG Attitude’s more vociferous critics of the Chinese government (as distinct from its citizens generally) I would like to take up some readers’ comments about how China has risen so far and so fast.
In doing so, I reject any inference that criticisms of Chinese government policies and action reflect an inherent Sinophobia.
Continue reading "Rationality & balance required for China" »
Martyn Namorong - "Foreign governments should refrain from interfering in PNG’s democratic processes. We know some countries have a tendency to do that”
| The Guardian
CAIRNS - Australia has dramatically overreacted to speculative announcements of possible Chinese-funded development on the Papua New Guinea island of Daru, a former adviser to the PNG government has said.
“I think the Chinese just wanted to ruffle a few feathers on the Australian side,” Martyn Awayang Namorong said of the leaked letter describing plans to build a $39 billion city on Daru, and last November’s memorandum of understanding signing to establish a “comprehensive multifunctional fishery industrial park” on the island.
Continue reading "Namarong: Australia 'overreacting' to China" »
Clothes hanging over a muddy beach at Daru island, just four kilometers from the Australian border
ADELAIDE - I think Michael Kabuni's analysis is basically correct. Australia's policy in relation to Papua New Guinea has indeed been deficient and reactive in some respects.
While I agree that the proposed Daru fisheries deal should bring economic benefits to PNG and the Western Province, I wonder how significant the benefits will be in the long term.
Continue reading "China: Strings implicit & designed to entrap" »
ADELAIDE – Why are Australian taxpayers funding Papua New Guinea’s 111 parliamentarians with $2.9M (K8 million) each for District Services Improvement Fund, and other discretionary funds, with little accountability and proper procurement process?
When Charles Abel was Treasurer from 2017-19, he tried to wind back these funds in the budget, but was over-ruled by prime minister Peter O’Neill.
Continue reading "Australia sleeps on job as China nears" »
Daru, capital of impoverished Western Province, is the planned site of a major Chinese fishery. It will generate many jobs. But Australia opposes the idea
| Asia & the Pacific Policy Society
WAIGANI - Last November, Chinese company Fujian Zhonghong Fishery Limited signed a memorandum of understanding with the Papua New Guinea government to set up a K700 million multi-functional fisheries industrial park in Daru, Western Province.
Unfortunately, debate in Australia surrounding this proposal has not extended beyond Australia’s security concerns as to what this project means for Western Province people.
Continue reading "Reacting to China: The cost of intervention" »
Maureen Penjueli - Australia and New Zealand's absence at the recent crucial Pacific Islands Forum meeting challenges their commitment to the region
| Pacific Islands News Association
SUVA - The decision by Micronesian leaders to withdraw from the region’s premier political body, the Pacific Islands Forum, is a move of tectonic scale whose impact will reverberate across the region.
The withdrawal comes on the back of a bruising leadership contest for Secretary-General of the Forum.
Continue reading "Where is the ‘mana’ in our Pacific Way?" »
| Griffith Asia Insights
CAIRNS - “We are happy to share what we have in the Torres Strait, but we will not give – not a teaspoon of water, not a grain of sand.”
This was the war cry of Torres Strait Islander Getano Lui Snr in 1976, one of the leading political agitators that pressured the Australian government to form the Torres Strait Treaty.
Continue reading "Torres Strait Treaty is back in the spotlight" »
Lowy Institute building in Sydney
CANBERRA - An Australian government supported think tank has been accused of racism and infantilising Pacific islanders following commentary on the departure of five Micronesian nations from the Pacific Islands Forum.
The Sydney-based Lowy Institute has faced a barrage of criticism over views expressed by the managing editor of its online The Interpreter magazine, Daniel Flitton, who compared a major regional dispute to a “toddler’s tantrum” and said Pacific island nations have “some growing up to do”.
Continue reading "Lowy feels heat over ‘tone-deaf comments’" »
Governor Yoto and Ambassador Xue - Australia looking like a wallflower as the PNG-China bromance flourishes
NOOSA – As covered in PNG Attitude on Wednesday, a fruitless Australian government mission to Daru to show the Western Province government it was a highly valued friend didn't end well.
It resulted in a hostile statement aimed at Australia from governor Taboi Awi Yoto, who I am told is usually a good humoured man.
Continue reading "Western Province seeks Chinese aid" »
Fly River at Kiunga (OTML)
BANGKOK – The recent visit by an Australian diplomatic team to meet the Western Province governor in Daru resulted in another flare-up in the a chronic, complex and damaging sore that has long been festering away four kilometers from Australia’s northern border.
It will take cool heads with real vision and a genuine sense of shared purpose to tackle this.
Continue reading "Western Province - resource rich & deeply poor" »
JONATHAN BARRETT & PRAVEEN MENON
| Reuters | Extract
Link here for the complete article
SYDNEY & WELLINGTON - Pacific island nations are turning to China-led agencies to plug funding gaps in their pandemic-ravaged budgets after exhausting financing options from traditional western partners, stoking fears the region is becoming more dependent on Beijing.
The Cook Islands, a tiny country of around 20,000 people, turned to the Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) late last year after loans from the US and Japanese-led Asian Development Bank (ADB) and grant from close ally New Zealand fell short.
Continue reading "Pacific turns to China as economies sink" »
Governor Taboi Awi Yoto meets in Daru with Australian High Commission officials. "Australians working behind my back," he says
TABOI AWI YOTO
| Governor, Western Province | Edited
DARU - As expected, lately there has been an increased Australian interest in Western Province after the signing of the memorandum of understanding for a Chinese-led fisheries park on Daru Island.
Last week a team of Australians [from the High Commission] came to Daru to meet with the provincial government to discuss the fisheries park.
Continue reading "Governor: Oz talks on Chinese fishery fail" »
The Global Times depicts Australia as a United States puppet in its conflict with China
| Pearls and Irritations
SYDNEY - Post Covid, it will be hard for Australia to grow quickly without China’s market, capital, people exchange and know-how. Finding a détente is essential.
However, Australia targeted China before it targeted us. After signing a free trade and investment agreement with China in 2015, we:
Continue reading "Australia, not China, initiated trade conflict" »
Under the watchful eye of Huawei, PNG DataCo lays the Kumul submarine cable off Vanimo
| The Yegiora Files | Edited
MADANG - Technology is increasingly becoming an important part of human life and most of what we do today is influenced by our use of technology.
As a developing country, Papua New Guinea is seeing technological changes unfold with the help of China.
Continue reading "Huawei’s vital role in digital rise" »
ADELAIDE - Thanks for the very balanced assessment in ‘Australia needs help with its China problem’.
It is important to put some perspective into a debate that tends to become fairly acrimonious at times.
So far as I can see, the only acceptable basis for a sensible relationship with China is one where we simply agree to disagree on some issues.
Continue reading "China & Australia must agree to disagree" »
The dilemma of how Australia can reach a reasonable accommodation with China, just as Papua New Guinea and New Zealand have managed to do
NOOSA – When Bernard Yegiora recently published an essay on China’s relations with Australia and Papua New Guinea, some PNG Attitude readers were quick to criticise his views. Perfectly acceptable.
One reader was quick to criticise Bernard personally. Not acceptable, and I made clear my displeasure.
Bernard was, after all, articulating his version of PNG’s current policy on how its relationship with China is conducted.
Continue reading "Australia needs help with its China problem" »
| The Yegiora Files
MADANG – It’s well known that China has the largest population of any country and that its people have been mobilised as the driving force behind China’s rapid growth and transformation.
To ensure its population remains stable, content and healthy, the Chinese government needs to undertake massive development projects.
Continue reading "Sovereignty, China, PNG & Australia" »
The Torres Strait people are skilled navigators with detailed knowledge of the sea, reefs and islands
Sari-Ella Thaiday, just completing a law degree in Brisbane, has initiated a petition to Australia’s foreign affairs minister asking that the government protect the rights of Torres Strait Islands’ people against any Chinese incursion into Australian waters - KJ
BRISBANE - China has just signed a memorandum of understanding with Papua New Guinea to build a $200 million fishing facility on Daru Island.
It is imperative that Torres Strait Islands’ leaders discuss this issue with Australian foreign affairs minister Marise Payne to review the Torres Strait Treaty, which allows Papua New Guinean nationals to fish in Australian waters.
Continue reading "Torres Strait islanders want to keep China out" »
TUMBY BAY - As 2020 draws to a close, confusion and trepidation seem to be the major emotions people the world over are feeling.
The confusion stems from uncertainty about how to interpret what appear to be existential threats in 2021 and beyond.
They include the coronavirus pandemic.
Continue reading "Beyond 2020: A hazardous row to hoe" »
Sydney Morning Herald
| Pearls & Irritations
MELBOURNE - There are many commentators with strong and legitimate concerns about China. The relationship between Australia and China is a very important one and it warrants open and vigorous debate
When those with privileged access to the public square confuse name calling and assertion with rational argument, it is important to point this out.
Continue reading "Australia has no ‘powerful card’ on China" »
When he wrote this prescient, and still relevant, article 10 years ago, Bernard was studying for a master’s degree in international relations at the Institute of International Studies at China's Jilin University in Changchun. He had graduated with an honours degree in political science from the University of Papua New Guinea in 2009. Bernard now lectures at Divine Word University in Madang - KJ
MADANG - Anti-Chinese sentiment, or Sinophobia, is a deadly trend becoming more common as China continues to rise. It is defined as the dislike of or fear of China, its people or its culture.
Xenophobia, fear of foreigners, is widespread in all societies.
Continue reading "The inevitable growth of global Sinophobia" »
Headline, byline and deck of the article in the Lowy Interpreter that angered the Bougainville president
NOOSA – Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama has expressed “alarm” at an article by former Bougainville government advisor Gordon Peake alleging he had “call[ed] into question the integrity of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and our commitment to the peace process”.
The article appeared last week in The Interpreter, a website published by the Sydney-based Lowy Institute.
Continue reading "Toroama 'alarmed' by former adviser's claims" »
PNG's shaggy soldiers - and it's all the fault of the politicians
| My Land, My Country
LAE - I write this on behalf of the many soldiers who can’t openly discuss the problems they face in the field as members of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF).
I also write this as a Papua New Guinean who holds the PNGDF in high regard despite the many problems it faces.
Continue reading "Our soldiers need uniforms, food & more" »
Boat harbour, Daru (The Guardian)
ADELAIDE – I’m reading the fascinating, ‘Too Close to Ignore: Australia’s Borderland with PNG and Indonesia’, by Mark Moran and Jodie Curth-Bibb, recently reviewed by Stephen Howes for DevPolicy Blog.
This whole subject of borderland relations is of increasing importance to both Papua New Guinea and Australia and Howes’ review was republished in PNG Attitude.
Continue reading "Reflections on the borderland dilemma" »
Chinese-flagged fishing boat ( Artyom Ivanov, Tass)
| The Guardian | Judith Nielson Institute
Link to the full story here
SYDNEY - A $204 million (K527 million) Chinese-built fishery plant planned for a Papua New Guinean island could allow Chinese-backed commercial vessels to fish legally in the Torres Strait.
The plan has raised concerns about unregulated fishing in the same waters, potentially threatening the Australian industry and local PNG fishers.
Continue reading "Chinese fisheries project in Daru raises alarm" »
Bassim Blazey - "Quite a bit going on in Australia -Papua New Guinea relations"
TUMBY BAY - Towards the end of October I sent an email to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) asking whether it was possible to get some background on its Papua New Guinea Branch.
The request was mere curiosity on my part but I thought it might be a useful topic for a PNG Attitude article and in particularly its PNG readers.
Continue reading "Dear citizen, there’s a bit going on…." »
The election of Biden and Harris is seen as a beacon of hope by many governments in the Pacific islands
| Griffith Asia Insights
BRISBANE - Fiji’s prime minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, was the first to congratulate Joe Biden on his election as president of the United States.
There was little doubt what he wanted from the next leader of the free world. “Together, we have a planet to save from a climate emergency”, he tweeted.
Continue reading "A climate for change in the Pacific" »
Joe Biden - his uncle Ambrose was killed when his aircraft was shot down in PNG in World War II and his body never found
NOOSA – United States’ president-elect Joe Biden is well acquainted with Papua New Guinea – two of his uncles fought there in World War II and one was killed, his body never found.
“Australia looked to America, and a generation of Americans - including two of my uncles - responded,” Biden said during a visit to Australia as US vice president in 2016.
Continue reading "Joe Biden’s deep connection with PNG" »
TUMBY BAY - It has always been a commonly held belief that politicians don’t run the country. That prerogative is exclusively the domain of the public service.
Anyone who has ever studied human relations theory will also know that managers always appoint people in their own image. This is particularly so among senior bureaucrats.
Continue reading "The mysteriously blank face of DFAT" »
A transmigrasi village in West Papua
ADELAIDE - In 1975 I went from Papua New Guinea, where we were working, to Irian Jaya and Indonesia. Nothing prepared us for the scene in Jayapura. The Melanesians were serfs in their own country.
We stayed in a nearby village, which had been the subject of recent transmigrasi, the scheme to populate Irian Jaya with migrants from heavily populated parts of Indonesia, especially Java.
Continue reading "Melanesians & Australians must safeguard freedom" »
ADELAIDE - Corney Alone raised a number of important and hideously complex issues in yesterday’s article, ‘Warning to Oz: Don’t underestimate PNG’.
Australia's policy towards West Papua is not genocidal although, shamefully, Australia - along with Britain, the Netherlands and the USA - capitulated to Indonesia's territorial demands in the 1960s when they should have supported a genuine act of self-determination.
Continue reading "China: unquestioning obedience or mutual respect?" »
Corney Alone tells Australia, "We're not going to sing a backward-leaning Kumbaya with you"
Australia’s ramped-up megaphone hostility to its biggest trading partner, China, has led to trade repercussions, pole-axed Australian diplomacy and raised eyebrows in the Pacific. Papua New Guinean business leader and national affairs commentator Corney Alone tells Australia it can play this game but shouldn’t expect the Pacific to fall into line - KJ
PORT MORESBY – Yes, Australia. You get exactly what you bargain for in your relations with China. For Papua New Guinea, though, on our turf we reject outdated, cold war era nonsense.
We are also acutely aware of the 54 years of neglect, double-standards and the arrogant complicity in genocide of Australia's policy towards Melanesian West Papua.
Continue reading "Warning to Oz: Don’t underestimate PNG" »
| South China Morning Post | Edited extract
Link to the full article here
Australia anti-Chinese megaphone diplomacy (toned down just a little recently) has caused offence to China which has retaliated with selective trade bans. Papua New Guinea needs to ensure that its own important relations with China are not being caught up and impaired by Australia’s leaden foot and its tin ear - KJ
Continue reading "Australia’s damaging China witch hunt" »
Commodore Sam Bateman - a leading maritime strategist and friend of Papua New Guinea
VICE ADMIRAL PETER JONES
| President, Australian Naval Institute | Edited
SYDNEY - On 18 October 2020 Commodore Sam Bateman AM, RAN passed away aged 82. He was one of the leading maritime strategists of his generation and has left a significant legacy.
During two stints in Papua New Guinea between 1967 and 1975, Sam was senior officer of the PNG Patrol Boat Squadron, where he knew Colonel Reg Renagi, and was later Naval Officer in Charge, Port Moresby, and Director of Maritime Operations in PNG.
Continue reading "Commodore Sam Bateman's 'heart for the PNG Navy'" »
Isaac Lupari’s alleged financial dealings with Paladin raised in Australian parliament
| The Sunday Age
CANBERRA - The chief secretary of the Papua New Guinea government, Sir Isaac Lupari, allegedly approached a director of controversial Australian immigration detention contractor Paladin for financial support, according to evidence provided to a Senate committee in Canberra.
Sir Isaac is one of PNG’s most experienced officials and is perhaps the second most senior figure in the government behind Prime Minister James Marape.
Continue reading "Lupari said to have demanded payment from Paladin" »
Richard Brunton and his fiancée Catherine Styles
| Radio New Zealand
AUCKLAND - Papua New Guineans and Pacific Islanders are among many thousands of people stuck in limbo because of an Australian migration policy which appears to lack compassion.
Due to the pandemic, Australia closed its borders to almost everyone except Australian citizens, permanent residents, resident New Zealand citizens or immediate family members.
Continue reading "Unjust Oz policy leaves Pacific people in limbo" »
| Pacific Fellow | Young Australians in International Affairs | Edited
SYDNEY - After securing the confidence of parliament in May 2019, Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape promptly announced a shift in the country’s foreign policy.
Marape declared that PNG would divert from its traditionally non-confrontational approach to international affairs and would assume a bold focus on forming new partnerships with regional neighbours and challenging historical dependencies.
Continue reading "How’s PNG’s new foreign policy going?" »
| World Socialist Website | Extract
SYDNEY - The Australian media is working hand-in-hand with the government to demonise China’s so-called “interference” in the country’s political, economic and educational affairs.
It is also focusing on China’s involvement in the Pacific region, recently stoking fears over Beijing’s presence in Papua New Guinea, Australia’s former colonial possession.
Continue reading "Oz media stokes fears over PNG & China" »
The controversial Manus refugee issue will not want to be stirred up again by the PNG and Australian governments
NOOSA – The United Kingdom government is considering asking Papua New Guinea and some other countries to accept asylum seekers.
The Guardian newspaper reports that the UK Foreign Office has been asked to “offer advice on possible options for negotiating an offshore asylum processing facility similar to the Australian model in Papua New Guinea and Nauru”.
Continue reading "UK explores sending asylum seekers to PNG" »
The refurbished buildings behind the perimeter fence
PORT MORESBY - Traffic at the Three Mile roundabout here in the nation’s capital is sometimes very unkind.
Especially in the afternoons and especially if you are stuck in one of those overcrowded city buses.
Overwhelmed with the heat, you slump there helplessly as the bus crawls along in the queue towards the turn.
Continue reading "Barracks restored after years of neglect" »
W D BROWNSMITH
CANBERRA - Zoom was the venue as Australia and Papua New Guinea relaunched their bilateral relationship on Wednesday.
Prime ministers Scott Morrison and James Marape then released a statement outlining a new comprehensive strategic and economic partnership between the two countries. (Although Mr Morrison was the only one to grace the washed out cover photo.)
Continue reading "On diplomatic doublespeak & intellectual dishonesty" »
Inside PNGDF joint task force Covid-19 headquarters (JTFHQ) in Port Moresby
PORT MORESBY – The Covid-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on Papua New Guinea’s national security as the government heightens measures across land, air and sea borders.
There is a new focus on continuous enhancement of PNG Defence Force capabilities especially along the 720 kilometres land border.
Continue reading "Operation Covid-19: ‘Resilient & Agile’" »
| The Diplomat
WASHINGTON DC - The strategic competition between China and Australia in the South Pacific looks likely to intensify with a potential attempt by China to gain a major share of the region’s telecommunications market.
It was reported last week in the Australian Financial Review that China’s state-owned telecommunications company, China Mobile, is looking to purchase the local assets of the largest mobile carrier in the Pacific Islands, Digicel.
Continue reading "China eyeing Digicel network" »
ANDREW CLARK & ANGUS GRIGG
| Australian Financial Review | Extract
Link to the complete article here
SYDNEY - Mother nature seems to have designed Papua New Guinea for mobile phones.
A land of spectacular mountains, deep valleys and a sparse inland road system, PNG is dotted with 1500 mobile phone base stations, now used by sons and daughters in cities such as Port Moresby or Lae to check on whether parents living in remote highland villages are safe from the ravages of COVID-19.
Continue reading " Could China take over Digicel PNG?" »
Sir Michael Somare and Ian Kemish in 2019
| The Interpreter | Lowy Institute
SYDNEY - Jon Philp, who commenced as Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea early this month, is the 16th to serve as Australia’s lead diplomatic representative in Port Moresby.
I know from experience that the role is unlike any other in the Australian foreign service.
Continue reading "A role unlike any other" »
TUMBY BAY - When the governor general of Australia, Sir John Kerr, dismissed the Whitlam government in 1975 the conspiracy theorists had a field day.
Chief among the theories was that the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency, alarmed at Whitlam’s bold new social programs and loosening of its treaty ties, was the real culprit rather than opposition leader Malcolm Fraser
Continue reading "Which bully to choose?" »