Home Asean News PNG Treads Carefully With Back To Back Visits From China And Australia

PNG Treads Carefully With Back To Back Visits From China And Australia


China’s foreign minister Wang Yi is expected in Papua New Guinea (PNG) this weekend on a two-day visit. On the agenda is an economic cooperation agreement details of which are yet to be released. PNG had earlier declined an offer from China for help in strengthening its police force, a decision reflecting the broader discomfort in the region with China’s presence and influence.

Australia, for instance, is PNG’s closest neighbour, the shortest distance between two mainland islands is 150 km and there is only a 5 km distance separating inhabited islands. Clearly, PNG sees itself as a buffer between Asia and the Pacific Ocean, and is balancing trade ties with China while signing a defence deal that gives the U.S. military access to its ports and airports.

Nitin A Gokhale WhatsApp Channel

Wang Yi will be followed by Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, whose visit will mark ANZAC Day. It memorialises the sacrifce of thousands of Australian and New Zealand troops killed in the first and second world wars and other operations. So Prime Minister Albanese will walk along the Kokoda Track used by ANZAC and PNG guerrillas during World War Two against the Japanese.

Albanese will arrive in PNG a few days earlier, and travel to Isurava on April 25 for the traditional dawn service. PNG Prime Minister James Marape will walk on the Kokoda Track with Albanese. Albanese said on Friday he was spending ANZAC Day on the Kokoda Track to “show my respect to the remarkable effort to protect our nation at one of its darkest hours.”