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?" »
James Marape - discussing the coronavirus situation with Australia's leaders almost every day
| Australian Broadcasting Corporation
SYDNEY -Countries with pre-existing conditions — poverty, limited healthcare, ineffective or corrupt governments — are fragile, and it is these countries that Covid-19 is threatening to push to the brink of survival.
Some have argued the United States has made solid start on the journey to failed-state status.
Continue reading "Will PNG & Indonesia become failed states" »
ANTHEA MULAKALA & HONGBO JI
| DevPolicy Blog & The Asia Foundation
SAN FRANCISCO - For many years, China has been a major contributor to global development and the sustainable development goals.
Much of this Chinese South-South Cooperation has flown under the radar of Western media and traditional aid discourse.
Continue reading "Covid-19 & China’s soft power ambitions" »
| Pacific Media Watch | Extract
David is self-isolating in Auckland under New Zealand’s Covid-19 lockdown. You can read his complete article here. https://asiapacificreport.nz/2020/04/16/how-the-chief-covidiot-has-blocked-world-health-unity-with-who-freeze/
AUCKLAND - Donald Trump’s sabre-rattling freeze on funding for the World Health Organisation at a time when many countries are pulling together for a global response to the coronavirus pandemic has surely earned him the epithet of the “world’s chief covidiot”.
The US President’s efforts at deflecting the blame for his country’s national public health crisis by pointing the finger at WHO and announcing that Washington would pull funding as the largest donor has shocked the world, triggering widespread condemnation from leaders and public health experts.
Continue reading "Chief Covidiot blocks health unity" »
Prof Mark Moran - "For PNG residents, the Australian government approach to border management relies on a hierarchy of haves and have-nots — those villages with treaty status, and those without"
PROFESSOR MARK MORAN*
| The Conversation
BRISBANE - Less than four kilometres from Australia’s northernmost islands in the Torres Strait lies the South Fly District of Papua New Guinea.
If you’ve ever heard anything about this borderland region – wedged between Australia, Indonesia and the Fly River in southern PNG – it’s likely about protecting Australia from disease, illegal migration, drugs and gun smuggling.
Continue reading "Destitution on Australia’s border" »
| Australian Strategic Policy Institute
CANBERRA - One of the questions frequently asked about Australia’s closest neighbour, Papua New Guinea, is whether a military, or other, coup is possible.
Over the 40-plus years of my association with PNG, my view has been consistent—it is possible but fortunately highly unlikely.
There are two reasons why I have always been confident in this assessment.
Continue reading "The protection of PNG’s democracy" »
If you try to link to the Australian visa application website at http://www.immi.gov.au/visas/png, this is the friendly and encouraging message you receive
PORT MORESBY - As an Australian, I am embarrassed and saddened with the Australian government's disdain toward our Pacific neighbours in a variety of contexts.
A visitor’s visa for Australia can be processed in under two days, but only if you happen to have been born into a select group of countries throughout the world where the eVisitor or ETA (electronic travel authority) applies.
Continue reading "Australia’s PNG visa embarrassment" »
MORRISET - If you live in a Pacific nation and are having trouble or being delayed in getting a visa to Australia, there are likely to be two reasons:
One - visa processing has been outsourced to a private UK company called TT Services.
Two - all visa approvals are now managed by the Australian High Commission in Fiji, even if you are from Papua New Guinea, the Solomons, Vanuatu or Tonga.
Continue reading "Australia’s Pacific missteps continue" »
TUMBY BAY - Some time ago I was sitting in the international departure lounge at Jackson’s Airport in Port Moresby waiting for the big balus to arrive from Brisbane.
It’s always interesting when a big balus lands because you can watch the new arrivals go past the glass doors on their way to immigration and customs.
Continue reading "Capitalising on the Indigenous connection" »
Ambassador Xue Bing - "The xenophobic attacks against Chinese people are more serious than the corona virus itself"
| National Broadcasting Corporation
PORT MORESBY - Chinese citizens in Papua New Guinea are being urged to be cautious in their movements after growing discrimination due to the corona virus outbreak.
The Chinese embassy in PNG said it's worried about the stigma and hate speech the virus has caused on Chinese people, not only in PNG but in other countries as well.
Continue reading "Embassy tries to quell corona concerns" »
ANGUS GRIGG & LISA MURRAY
| Australian Financial Review | Extracts
Link to the full article here
SYDNEY - A major falling out between the owners of Manus Island contractor Paladin is threatening to expose the Home Affairs Department to a fresh round of scrutiny over the integrity and performance of the $532 million (K1.2 billion) refugee contract.
Ian Stewart, who resigned as a Paladin Group director in July last year, broke ranks on Tuesday and said he was willing to front a Senate inquiry into the firm’s practices in Papua New Guinea and how it ran the controversial contract.
Continue reading "Manus scandal: Director breaks silence" »
The deceit began with 19th century 'blackbirding' of slave labour to work in Australia - and it continues to this day in the form of denying climate change impacts on the Pacific
| Guardian Australia | Extract
CANBERRA - The Australian government is fighting to keep secret draft versions of its strategy for helping the Pacific deal with climate change, prompting concerns it may be hiding changes that weakened the final report.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade released its climate change action strategy in November, detailing how the foreign aid program would be used to help developing nations – particularly those in the Pacific – deal with global heating.
Continue reading "Australia deceives Pacific – again" »
'Simbu for Australia' bushfire appeal rally in Kundiawa last week led by author Francis Nii in his wheelchair
| Guardian Australia | Extracts
SYDNEY - When Scott Morrison thanked governments of the world for their assistance with Australia’s bushfire crisis, he particularly singled out “the loving response from our Pacific family”.
Across the Pacific region – a collection of developing and least developed nations that are themselves almost uniquely at risk from climate-induced catastrophes – the response to the Australian bushfires has been immediate and generous, but it also reveals something of the problematic fraternity that Australia has with the rest of the region.
Continue reading "Pacific needs more than Morrison's thanks" »
| Foreign Policy | Extracts
Link here to read the complete article
WASHINGTON DC - A decade ago, then-US president Barack Obama billed himself as the “first Pacific president” and announced, several years later, a foreign-policy “pivot to Asia.”
But the pivot proved largely illusory, and the region only grows more complex. The growing challenges faced by Pacific island countries requires significant reassessment as the region becomes one of the tensest political battlegrounds in the world.
Continue reading "China tests Pacific’s fragile democracies" »
5G technology is another arena of big power rivalry, with PNG caught between US and Chinese interests
WEWAK - Big data mining and the new science of singularity and its application in nanotechnology, nanobiology, machine learning and manufacturing have crept up on us in Papua New Guinea.
The announcement by the PNG government’s telco provider, Kumul Telikom, that it had reached an agreement with Huawei of China to roll out 5G starting in urban centres in 2020 threw our small science and engineering community into disarray.
Continue reading "5G, PNG & big power politics" »
The irregulars of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army were so effective, Julius Chan's government tried to bring in overseas mercenary soldiers. Uproar ensued throughout PNG, including in the defence force
SYDNEY – Fairfax Media has reported that important information about Australia’s relationship with Papua New Guinea will remain a secret, even though it is 20 years old and due to be released.
The National Archives of Australia usually releases secret cabinet documents two decades after they were created in Australia.
The Archives director David Fricker says this is an "essential function we perform for transparency and integrity of Australian government in this democracy of ours".
Continue reading "The 20 year old secrets PNG cannot know" »
Phil Fitzpatrick - "While Australia thought it was a good world citizen bringing PNG to nationhood, many Papua New Guineans felt it was exercising its innate sense of superiority over what it saw as a lesser people"
TUMBY BAY - You’ve probably heard the old adage which says there is no such thing as a free lunch.
The adage alludes to the belief that nothing in life is free, including acts of kindness and charity.
Any such act always creates an obligation of reciprocity.
Papua New Guineans and other Melanesian societies are very familiar with this rule. The so-called ‘big man system’ is based on the concept.
Continue reading "There are no free lunches" »
| Australian Strategic Policy Institute
CANBERRA - Australia’s deepest, oldest instinct in the South Pacific is strategic denial, striving to exclude other major powers from the region.
As Australia can never achieve complete dominance in the South Pacific, the instinct is beset by a faint, constant ache.
Continue reading "The Pacific: strategic denial & integration" »
Ben Bohane exposes the shallowness (and insincerity) of Australia's relationships with the Pacific
| The Age (Melbourne) | Extracts
You can link to Ben Bohane’s complete article here
MELBOURNE - One of the reasons Pacific nations like Vanuatu are turning to China is because they fear Jakarta more than Beijing.
As previously reported in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, China is making a bold play for influence in Bougainville, the resource-rich PNG-governed territory that looks set to become the world's newest nation after its people voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence earlier this month.
Continue reading "Australia's Pacific hypocrisy unveiled" »