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" »
Bougainville is strategically located in the south-west Pacific and that locational advantage can be traded for aid, underpinning a viable economy
TUMBY BAY – The discussion about the future of Bougainville seems to be coalescing around its economic viability, which seems to be the lever that will be used by Papua New Guinea in its attempt to retain the province as part of the nation.
What seems to be missing from the debate so far is the issue of identity.
Continue reading "Geo-strategy & Bougainville’s future" »
| Russkiy Mir Foundation
PORT MORESBY - The National Library and Archives will today host the opening ceremony of the Russkiy Mir (Russian World) Centre in Papua New Guinea.
The Miklouho-Maclay Fund with the support of the Russian foreign ministry and the Russkiy Mir Foundation initiated the creation of the centre.
Continue reading "Russia outpost opens" »
Solomons prime minister Manasseh Sogavare and Chinese premier Li Keqiang (AP)
| Nikkei Asian Review
SYDNEY - In October, the New York Times reported that China had leased the island of Tulagi, prized for its deep-water harbor, from the Solomon Islands, which lie northeast of Australia.
While the Solomon Islands government has said such a lease is illegal, it set alarm bells ringing internationally, coming less than a week after the country severed relations with Taipei and turned to Beijing.
Continue reading "Pacific avoids debt-trap for now" »
The Bougainville people are delighted to be voting in their long-promised independence referendum, but the hardest decisions still lie ahead
| The Diplomat
WASHINGTON DC - The Panguna mine on Bougainville is one of the largest copper and gold deposits in the world.
The mine was also at the centre of a decade-long civil war fought between the Bougainville Revolutionary Army and the Papua New Guinea Defence Force in the 1990s. The conflict cost as many as 15,000 lives and displaced 40,000 of the island’s 200,000 inhabitants.
Continue reading "Will Bougainville reopen Panguna?" »
James Marape and Scott Morrison - Australia's billion kina loan equals about what PNG lost in its ill-fated venture into Oil Search
| Australian Financial Review | Extracts
SYDNEY - Australia will loan Papua New Guinea $442 million (K1 billion)) in direct budget assistance designed to secure essential government services and rebuff financial overtures from China.
The Morrison government agreed to the loan request from PNG prime minister James Marape, offering immediate financial support linked to his plans for longer-term economic reforms in the struggling nation.
Continue reading "Australia to loan PNG K1 billion" »
The photo of Bryan Kramer MP and Dr Chakriya Bowman in the front seat of a vehicle. The image was later doctored to airbrush out the other passengers
NOOSA – Following his exposure of Peter O’Neill’s efforts to evade arrest on allegations of corruption, Papua New Guinea police minister Bryan Kramer says he has been subjected to a barrage of social media smears from supporters of the former prime minister.
In a Facebook post entitled ‘Desperate times calls for desperate measures’, Mr Kramer yesterday hit back at people he called “O’Neill loyalists” who he said had decided to avoid the real issue of the allegations against O’Neill.
Continue reading "Dirty tricks & desperate measures" »
Solomons prime minister Manasseh Sogavare Chinese premier Li Keqiang (standing) and other officials at the signing ceremony in the Great Hall of the People Beijing China (Thomas Peter-Pool)
| Sport Business Asia
BEIJING, CHINA - China has stepped in with K250 million to bankroll the construction of the main stadium for the 2023 Pacific Games in Solomon Islands, after Honiara struggled to fund the project.
China is taking over the funding of the stadium from Taiwan, which had previously pledged the funds.
Continue reading "China will fund Pacific Games stadium in Solomons" »
| Australian Financial Review
SYDNEY - The claim that China has engaged in ‘debt-trap diplomacy’ by offering loans worth hundreds of billions of dollars to strategically located Pacific island nations, leaving them vulnerable to China’s influence, has been hosed down in a new Lowy Institute report.
"The evidence to date suggests China has not been engaged in deliberate ‘debt-trap’ diplomacy in the Pacific," researchers at the foreign policy think tank concluded.
Continue reading "Report disputes China debt-trap claims" »
Ben Packham - journalist with The Australian newspaper and plenty of PNG experience
| The Australian
CANBERRA - A review of Australia’s annual $578m aid program in Papua New Guinea has warned law and order is deteriorating, corruption remains rife, and “weak” governance continues to hamper basic service delivery beyond the capital, Port Moresby.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade review found the performance of Australia’s biggest country aid program was falling short of expectations and “restorative action” was necessary.
Continue reading "Call for more aid as PNG faces corruption crisis" »
Senator Reynolds makes a sick girl smile (Alexander Nara)
PORT MORESBY - The geographical coordinates 6° 32' 0" South and 145° 37' 0" East were deemed to be somewhere in the centre of Papua New Guinea’s sovereign landmark.
An internet search revealed these satellite coordinates referred to 2,110 square kilometers of rugged mountains and narrow valleys covered with dense tropical jungle.
Continue reading "High level journey to Okapa’s back page" »
Fr Giorgio Licini - "It is outrageous what is being done to refugees in Manus, Port Moresby and Nauru"
FR GIORGIO LICINI
PORT MORESBY – Yesterday was World Migrant and Refugee Day and a message from Pope Francis to mark the day was particularly meaningful for our part of the world.
The words of the Pope help uncover a sense of truth about what has been going on for the past six years in Nauru and Manus.
Continue reading "The festering wounds of Manus and Nauru" »
China makes another significant inroad into the Pacific as the Solomons abandons Taiwan despite strenuous efforts by the USA to persuade it not to
| The Guardian
SYDNEY - The Solomon Islands’ government has voted to sever its longstanding ties with Taiwan and take up diplomatic relations with Beijing.
The move is a huge blow to self-ruled Taiwan, which has lost six allies since 2016, and to Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, who is seeking re-election in January amid rising tension with China.
The Solomon Islands, with about 600,000 people, is the latest country to switch allegiance to China since Tsai came to office in 2016, following Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, São Tomé and Príncipe, Panama and El Salvador.
Continue reading "China extends influence as Solomons ditches Taiwan" »
Governors Gary Juffa and Powes Parkop lead the West Papua freedom march on Monday
GOVERNOR POWES PARKOP
PORT MORESBY - The right to self-determination is not just a universal declaration provided in Article 1 of the United Nation Charter, it’s also a right promulgated by God when he got Moses to tell Pharaoh, ‘Let my people go!’
Thank you Governor Gary Juffa for your continuous support for our people of West Papua. You have never withered and I salute you. You are a champion of our people.
I thank prime minister James Marape for the brave stand he has taken. We are a manifestation of that stand that we won’t stand by and allow our people to be killed and oppressed.
Continue reading "Truth will set free the people of West Papua" »
James Marape and Scott Morrison - Australia will respond to PNG's calls but will not make the kind of sweeping overhauls to the relationship that Marape has called for
ASSESSMENTS WRITER | Stratfor Worldview | Edited
AUSTIN, USA - Papua New Guinea's new prime minister, James Marape, is touting a more nationalist push on resources for his energy- and mineral-rich country and hinting at a rebalance in great power relations, vexing both foreign companies and regional heavyweight Australia.
Since taking office in late May, Marape has launched a formal review into a multibillion dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, threatened to seek Chinese help in refinancing the country's K27 billion debt and mulled an overhaul of the country's natural resource laws to increase PNG’s share of revenue.
But despite his ambitious intentions, the eager new leader will find it difficult to take any of these efforts too far, because there's only so much the small resource- and aid-dependent Pacific country can push the envelope without jeopardizing its political stability and primary income streams.
Continue reading "In Papua New Guinea, reality will dim any nationalist dreams" »
Illustration by Dionne Gain (Sydney Morning Herald)
TUMBY BAY - Australia watchers in places like Papua New Guinea and the Pacific islands will have noticed that in the last few years a profound cultural change in their southern neighbour is in progress.
The main driving force of this change is a kind of paranoia driven by a largely politically orchestrated national fear.
One of the effects of this hysteria is that we Australian people seem to be sacrificing our basic liberties and, more profoundly, our humanity.
This is well illustrated by our treatment of refugees and asylum seekers but is also manifest in our trampling of the sovereignty of some of our neighbours and the moves to shut down the freedom of our own press and media.
Continue reading "Increasingly hysterical Australia is bad news for PNG & the region" »
RPNGC and AFP officers - Australian police are said to have problems bridging the cultural gap between themselves and PNG police
TUMBY BAY - There have been suggestions that Papua New Guinea’s police minister Bryan Kramer is thinking about seeking advice and assistance from the Australian Federal Police to bring the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary up to scratch so that it can effectively tackle a worsening law and order problem.
This has been tried before and the results were less than heartening, the reason for the failure having much to do with the inability of the Australian Federal Police to bridge the cultural gap between itself and RPNGC.
Most people in the know were not surprised. Bringing personnel from a largely peaceful urban working environment into the sort of conditions that prevail in PNG was a big ask at the best of times.
Added to that was the perception that the use of the AFP represented a neo-colonial approach. This didn’t go down well with the RPNGC itself or the general public.
But there is another option if the minister still thinks outside help is required.
Continue reading "Forget the Aussie rozzers & give the New Zealand police a go" »
Tuvalu PM and Forum chair Enele Sopoaga and Australian PM Scott Morrison (Stefan Armbruster)
STEFAN ARMBRUSTER & TESS NEWTON CAIN | DevPolicy Blog
CANBERRA - “Save Tuvalu, save the world” sang school children as they greeted the Pacific’s leaders on arrival to what became a showdown pitting the region against Australia.
This was no ambush, but had been building for years.
At the capital Funafuti’s airport the school children sat in a moat of water surrounding a diorama of a climate change devastated island.
If it wasn’t obvious, the significance was explained to them by Tuvalu’s foreign minister. The symbolism was potent, and the ritual well established by the time Australian prime minister Scott Morrison was the last of the 18 Forum leaders to stride across the tarmac.
Well briefed on what to do, he crouched to chat, showing up for the ‘Step Up’, but one major detail escaped advisers that marked out the Australian delegation.
Continue reading "Trying times in Tuvalu – no step up for climate change" »
Corney Alone - "It was crystal clear that Australia’s attempted bullying was sponsored from the pouch of the coal and fossil fuel industry"
CORNEY KOROKAN ALONE
PORT MORESBY – They were very strong words from the Fijian prime minister, Frank Bainimarama: the sentiments of the rest of the Pacific Islands leaders captured in his views.
“China never insults the Pacific," Bainimarama said. "They don’t go down and tell the world that we’ve given this much money to the Pacific islands. They don’t do that.
"They’re good people, definitely better than Morrison, I can tell you that. The [Australian] prime minister was very insulting, very condescending, not good for the relationship….”
My own prime minister, James Marape, upon returning from Tuvalu acknowledged that "there is a climate change crisis in the region".
He further stated that he "will be vocal about it when he attends the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September this year".
Australia, or any other so-called leader of the free world, must know that Pacific Islands people value relationships.
Continue reading "Colonisation will not cut it any more in our beloved islands" »
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern with Frank Bainimarama (Mick Tsikas)
KATE LYONS | Guardian Australia | Extract
FUNAFUTI - Scott Morrison has been accused of causing an extraordinary rift between Australia and Pacific countries by the prime minister of Fiji, who said the Australian prime minister’s insulting behaviour while at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu would push nations closer to China.
In an exclusive interview with Guardian Australia after the conclusion of the forum, Frank Bainimarama, the prime minister of Fiji and a political heavyweight in the region, said Morrison’s approach during the leaders’ retreat on Thursday was “very insulting and condescending”.
“Yesterday was probably one of the most frustrating days I have ever had,” he said of the leaders’ retreat, which lasted for nearly 12 hours and almost broke down over Australia’s red lines on the climate crisis.
Continue reading "‘Aussies keep saying China will take over. Guess why?’ - Fiji PM" »
Scott Morrison and Tuvalu prime minister Enele Sopoaga (Mick Tsikas)
KATHARINE MURPHY | Guardian Australia | Extract
Link here to Katharine Murphy’s full commentary
CANBERRA - Pacific leaders are fully aware that things are not under control when it comes to Australia’s climate change efforts.
You can understand their impatience. They are standing on the frontline of a climate crisis, and trying to prod laggards around the world.
The Pacific needs the big emitters, and countries that can influence them, like Australia, to stop obfuscating and start acting while we’ve got a chance of averting the worst scenarios.
So, this past week, entering the global arena, Morrison found himself wedged between the campaign calm down offensive at home, and Australia’s demonstrable absence of climate leadership.
Continue reading "Pacific needs Australia to stop obfuscating on climate change" »
COLIN PACKHAM | Reuters
FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu - Australia is willing to help Papua New Guinea refinance its national debt, Minister for the Pacific Alex Hawke said on Tuesday, as Canberra moves to counter what it sees as China’s efforts to increase its influence in PNG.
PNG prime minister James Marape’s office said last week that he had asked China to refinance the K27 billion debt. Marape later said the government was talking with a number of parties about its debt, not just China.
Australia and its western allies worry China has been able to use loans to increase its influence in Asia and the Pacific, described by the United States as amounting to “pay-day loan” diplomacy.
Speaking in Tuvalu’s capital on Tuesday ahead of the opening of the annual Pacific Islands Forum, Hawke said Australian lawmakers would soon head to Port Moresby for talks, including on assistance for debt refinancing.
Continue reading "Australia willing to assist PNG on debt says Pacific minister" »
LISA MURRAY | Australian Financial Review | Extracts
SYDNEY - The Australian government has announced the next leg of its Pacific step-up ahead of Scott Morrison’s visit to Tuvalu this week, spending $19 million on establishing a new security college to train officials from the region.
The latest security initiative comes as Mr Morrison is set to face strong criticism at the Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting this week over Australia’s climate change policies and its support for the Adani coal mine.
The college, being set up in partnership with the Australian National University, is aimed at boosting links between security and police officials across the Pacific amid concern about China’s expanding investment and influence.
Jonathan Pryke, director of the Pacific Islands program at the Lowy Institute, said Mr Morrison would be bracing himself ahead of this week's forum.
Continue reading "Australia to set up new security college as Pacific focus sharpens" »
MELISSA CLARKE | Australian Broadcasting Corporation | Extract
SYDNEY - Scott Morrison's pledge to "step up" relations with the Pacific will be put to the test this coming week, with the Prime Minister heading to Tuvalu for talks with Pacific leaders.
The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) leaders meeting begins Monday in the Tuvaluan capital Funafuti, a small atoll 4,000km north-east of Sydney, with Mr Morrison arriving on Wednesday.
Climate change will be the central issue of the week-long meeting, along with economic development, maritime security and marine pollution.
Pacific nations have been increasingly vocal in the lead-up to the meeting in their demands for Australia to take stronger action on climate change.
Continue reading "Climate change focus as Morrison attends Pacific Islands Forum" »
CONTRIBUTOR | Asia Times / AFP
SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape has backtracked on an announcement saying he had asked China to refinance the country’s $8 billion debt, insisting the statement was released without his knowledge.
A statement from his office on Tuesday said Marape had asked China’s ambassador for help in refinancing the country’s K27 billion public debt during a meeting in Port Moresby.
But on Wednesday afternoon, Marape’s office released a new statement saying it was “false” that he was “going one way to China” to tackle the country’s debt.
He said PNG was primarily discussing trade with China while examining debt options with undisclosed “non-traditional partners.”
Continue reading "Papua New Guinea backtracks on China debt refinancing" »
KATE LYONS | The Guardian | Extracts
SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape has dealt a blow to Australian diplomacy by asking China to refinance his country’s debt.
The request marks a “significant shift” in regional politics and PNG’s allegiances, according to Pacific experts.
Australia has traditionally been the largest aid donor and most important ally of PNG, but in recent years ties between China and PNG have strengthened.
PNG’s prime minister, James Marape, visited Australia two weeks ago at the invitation of his counterpart, Scott Morrison, in his first international visit since becoming the Pacific nation’s leader at the end of May.
Continue reading "Multibillion debt request to China “took Australia by surprise”" »