Will Papua New Guinea Bite On China's Security Deal Offer?

(MENAFN- Asia Times) In September 2023, China
Papua New Guinea with an offer for a security deal to help PNG's internal policing. This January, after
in PNG's capital, Port Moresby, talks continued between PNG and China, according to PNG Foreign Affairs Minister Justin Tkachenko.

While China's
security deal
offer“has not been accepted at this point in time” (according to Tkachenko), the United States through its Deputy Secretary of State Richard Verma has
urged PNG to reject
the offer on the basis that such security deals, including investments from China, usually come with a high cost and that China has not shown interest in the modern“rules-based order.”

But, given that the Chinese offer is already on the table, will PNG take it?

The Chinese security offer to PNG has become a geopolitical concern for Washington and Canberra because US and Australia have been PNG's two-decades-long
traditional security partners .

In addition, PNG Prime Minister James Marape stated in December at an investment conference in Sydney that there were no talks for a security deal between his government and the People's Republic of China when he visited Beijing in October for the Belt and Road Forum.

PNG's security environment needs much improvement and modernization in policing and defense. Although PNG launched and implemented the Defense White Paper and National Security Policy in 2013, much remains unachieved due to budget constraints. By 2017, only 138 out of 235 key tasks identified in the White Paper were implemented, due to less government investment in the PNG Defense Force.

As part of efforts to modernize its security environment in policing and defense, PNG in recent years has signed several security agreements with bilateral partners. These agreements cover issues including training and capacity building, border protection, maritime surveillance, UN peacekeeping missions, humanitarian assistance, cyber security, and climate change.

Will Papua New Guinea Bite On China

Papua New Guinea's Lombrum Naval Base is of strategic interest to the US. Image: Facebook

These bilateral security agreements usually provide a framework in which two consenting parties or states agree to deepen ties and enhance cooperation within the security space, while at the same time respecting each other's sovereignties.


Asia Times

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