Australian and Papua New Guinean officials have announced that they are finalizing a new security agreement, which is regarded as a response to China’s increasing aggressiveness in the Pacific.
Anthony Albanese, the prime minister of Australia, said on Thursday that he anticipated the treaty’s signing in June and the conclusion of discussions in April.
The proposed Bilateral Security Treaty would include defense, and conversations are now underway on topics including joint operations and climate change in addition to soldier training.
After becoming the first foreign leader to address Papua New Guinea’s parliament since the country of 10 million people earned independence in 1975, Albanese said that Australia and Papua New Guinea’s economic and security interests were interwoven.
At a press conference, Albanese said that “our economic cooperation and our security collaboration is in both of our interests.”
Our interests are interconnected. Without a more secure Australia, Papua New Guinea cannot be more secure, and vice versa.
According to Australia’s defense minister Richard Marles, Canberra wants to sign a deal that would allow its army, navy, and air force troops to collaborate more often.
According to a statement by Papua New Guinea’s prime minister, James Marape, “it is in our interests and our self-interest to ensure we have these discussions and consolidate on where we are so that the future is guaranteed for both countries.”
Marape said that both nations’ security was connected.
Our joint interests would be protected by these security arrangements without jeopardizing the uniqueness of our own bilateral partnerships with others, he added.
Because Papua New Guinea sits at the core of the Indo-Pacific confluence, he said, “one cannot discuss the Indo-Pacific without advancing the PNG agenda.”
“Papua New Guinea itself must be stronger economically if PNG is to participate in an Indo-Pacific area that is safer.”
After being alarmed by China signing a security agreement with the Solomon Islands in April, which raised concerns of a Chinese military buildup in the South Pacific region, the United States and its allies, including Australia, are attempting to counter Beijing’s growing influence in the strategically significant Pacific region.