The Ialibu-Kagua road built by 12 CE Works in the 1970s was finally sealed in 2019
| Harim Tok Tok
MADANG - By the time the Royal Australian Engineers (RAE) unit left Mendi in 1999, most parts of the former Southern Highlands Province (Hela was created from its western region in 2012) were connected by basic roads while the more outlying areas had airstrips.
Members of the Australian Army’s engineering corps had been deployed to Mendi in 1970 to run the Provincial Works Division.
Continue reading "Builders: The story of Mendi’s Royal Engineers" »
| ZDNet | Edited extracts
SYDNEY - Australia is funding the potential purchase of a Pacific telco for only one reason, to ensure China Mobile doesn't get to it first.
It now appears Australia wants a crack at showing the world how to keep companies out of Chinese ownership.
Continue reading "Oz sweats to keep Pacific telcos from China" »
Reza Barati was just 23 when bashed to death by Australian guards at a refugee camp on Manus
NOOSA – The parents of Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati, who died in February 2014 after being brutally beaten at an Australian-run detention centre, have begun legal action over his death.
Berati was 23 when killed by guards in a violent riot at the Manus Island camp that injured 77 other asylum seekers.
Continue reading "Berati family sues Oz govt over Manus murder" »
PNG prime minister James Marape receives 15 ventilators donated by the Chinese government
JULIA HOLLINGSWORTH & BEN WESTCOTT
CNN Digital Worldwide | Edited extracts
Link here for the complete analysis
HONG KONG - China and Australia have found another battleground for their deepening diplomatic standoff: the Pacific islands' pandemic response.
Canberra has hit back at Beijing's claims it is derailing the rollout of Chinese vaccines in Papua New Guinea, the most-populous Pacific nation.
Continue reading "Covid is now a China-Australia power play" »
Loi Bakani - "The Bank of PNG disassociates itself from the statement made by FASU”
NOOSA – Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) has strongly supported PNG’s financial regulator after Central Bank governor dissociated his bank from action it had taken to investigate possible money laundering.
TIPNG chair Peter Aitsi called on the government and the private sector to respect the independence of the Financial Analysis and Supervision Unit (FASU).
Continue reading "Transparency defends besieged regulator" »
Forests Minister Walter Schnaulbelt was first to be vaccinated with the highly effective Chinese Sinopharm vaccine
NOOSA – Papua New Guinea began the rollout of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine on Tuesday, with Forests Minister Walter Schnaubelt receiving the first official jab.
China supplied PNG with 200, 000 doses in late June, with 2,500 doses already given to Chinese nationals in the country as a confidence builder.
Continue reading "Chinese vaccine starts mass rollout" »
Cartoon by Chen Xia in the Global Times
NOOSA - China has made the extraordinary claim that Australia has planted political operatives in Papua New Guinea to undermine China's vaccine cooperation with Pacific Island countries.
The English-language Global Times newspaper, published in Beijing, accuses Australian ‘consultants’ of manipulating PNG’s Covid prevention policies.
Continue reading "Australian saboteurs block vaccine, says China" »
Bruce Haigh - "DFAT has overseen the biggest Australian foreign policy disaster in 70 years"
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited extracts
MELBOURNE - Despite the line spun by Frances Adamson AC, recently retired head of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the department appears to be in the process of being scuttled by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).
Speaking as a guest on ABC Insiders, Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne gave an unenlightening tour of the foreign policy issues facing Australia, from ‘all the way with the USA’ to ‘it is all China’s fault’.
Continue reading "Sinking DFAT cedes influence to ASPI" »
Daru. "Australian commentators on the issue of Chinese manoeuvring in PNG are invariably slanted," writes Binoy Kampmark (Photo - Natalie Whiting ABC)
| International Policy Digest
MELBOURNE - Clever diplomacy rarely involves total commitment or unqualified fidelity to any one state.
Treacherous waters require careful navigation, an understanding of shifty and shifting allegiances.
The goal for the prudent statesperson is the pursuit of self-interest without alienation.
Continue reading "China, PNG & Australia’s backyard blues" »
Crew of the Chinese training ship Qi Jiguang on a visit Dili (Li Mingyu, China Military Online)
WARRADALE, SA - In September 1999, I went to East Timor (Timor-Leste) to work with an aid agency in the aftermath of the 25-year civil war and the savage lead-up to the independence referendum.
It is almost impossible to imagine the devastation that was visited on this former province of Indonesia that became an independent but desperately poor nation.
Continue reading "China & Australia hold perils for PNG" »
Zhao Lijian - "Not the first time the Australian media has hyped up the so-called China-threat theory"
| Global Times
BEIJING – China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has said that any attempt to attack or smear China - Papua New Guinea relations or drive a wedge between the two countries is futile.
Zhao made the remarks in response to a misleading Australian media report claiming the upgrading of PNG's main naval base helps to counter China's challenge in the region.
Continue reading "Don’t smear our ties with PNG, says China" »
Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne with PNG counterpart Soroi Eoe who enjoys better access to China than Australia (ABC)
| In Queensland
BRISBANE - For Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, her Beijing counterpart Wang Yi is the guy who puts her on hold.
Papua New Guinea’s foreign affairs and international trade minister Soroi Eoe has no such problem.
He’s got his Chinese elbow bumping buddy on speed dial.
Continue reading "Beijing answers this man's calls; not hers" »
Will Tharnicaa be bundled onto a plane and ejected from the country of her birth?
ADELAIDE - The Biloela family have now become icons for both the left and right of Australian politics.
For those on the right they represent some sort of existential threat from hordes of people of colour who want to flee to Australia to escape from repressive regimes in their countries of origin.
Continue reading "A government with a truly wicked dilemma" »
Chandran Nair - "Instead of being captive to an idealised vision of the West, the rest of the world is waking up to Western narratives, fallacies and weaknesses"
| South China Morning Post
HONG KONG - The West’s disingenuous position on Israel and its coordinated attacks on China have blown the cover of the liberal narratives it uses to hide a postcolonial, imperialist agenda.
Its hypocrisy has been further exposed by its hoarding of coronavirus vaccines and the systemic racism that prompted the Black Lives Matter protests and fuelled attacks on people of Asian descent.
Continue reading "Western posturing & global white privilege" »
Artist's impression of the site of the upgrade works at Lombrum naval base - more boomerang aid
NOOSA - The Australian government says that Australia and Papua New Guinea’s security partnership has reached an important milestone with a contract for the redevelopment of Lombrum Naval Base awarded to Clough Australia.
According to Australia’s defence department, the contract will strengthen the PNG Defence Force capability to “protect PNG’s borders and maritime resources”.
Continue reading "Lombrum contract awarded to Australian company" »
Antony Blinken - “Economic coercion across the region is on the rise”
| The Guardian | Edited extracts
Link here to the full article
SYDNEY - The US secretary of state Antony Blinken has warned leaders of Pacific countries about “threats to the rules-based international order” and “economic coercion”, in what appears to be a veiled swipe at China’s growing influence in the region.
Blinken was addressing leaders and their delegates from 11 Pacific countries and territories including Fiji, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, Palau and Marshall Islands as part of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders, which is held in Hawaii.
Continue reading "US warns Pacific about Chinese ‘coercion’" »
Foreign ministers Soroi Eoe (PNG) and Wang Yi (China) meet in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province (Xinhua/Yang Wenbin)
GUIYANG – China’s State councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi has held talks with Soroi Eoe, Papua New Guinea’s minister of foreign affairs and international trade.
The meeting, held in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province, marked the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Continue reading "‘We’ll learn from you,’ PNG tells China" »
| Online Opinion
BRISBANE - I am increasingly of the view that the plans by a Chinese state owned fishing company to build a port and ‘fisheries factory’ on Daru is part of a strategic plan by China to expand its Pacific presence, and influence.
Of course it is designed to irritate Australia, and undermine our influence in Papua New Guinea something China has most certainly given more focus as our relations with the Peoples Republic of China has deteriorated.
Continue reading "China in the Pacific: We must do better" »
Bruce Haigh - 'The best and brightest who challenge policy or who seek to put forward policy in the face of domestic political imperatives are sidelined and rendered voiceless and powerless'
| John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations
MELBOURNE - There was a time in the sixties through to the 1980s when DFAT, the Department of Foreign Affairs (Trade was subsumed in 1987), was a powerful department within the Australian federal bureaucracy.
Its branches mirrored every major department in Canberra and when it felt necessary it would intervene in policies being developed by other departments, and often enough DFAT prevailed.
Continue reading "DFAT – elite became a feather duster" »
Scott Morrison and James Marape. Morrison talks of PNG as “family” and the Pacific as “our patch”
PATRICIA A O'BRIEN
| The Conversation
CANBERRA – Australian prime minister Scott Morrison is fond of describing Papua New Guinea as ‘family’. He did so recently when announcing Australia’s assistance with PNG’s Covid-19 outbreak.
The urgent support for PNG in the form of vaccines, testing kits, medical personnel and training was “in Australia’s interests”, Morrison said, because it threatens the health of Australians, “but equally our PNG family who are so dear to us”.
Continue reading "If we’re family, remember what we share" »
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…." »