7th December 2023 – (Canberra) Australia and Papua New Guinea have entered into a significant security agreement that will see Australian police stationed in the Pacific nation. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape announced the deal in Canberra on Thursday, emphasizing the close relations between the two countries.
The agreement is deemed historic and will enhance cooperation between Australia and Papua New Guinea on security matters. It will facilitate Australia’s assistance in addressing Papua New Guinea’s internal security needs, while also strengthening regional stability.
The deal solidifies Australia’s role in supporting Papua New Guinea in areas such as policing, the judiciary, and defence. Australia has committed AUD 200 million ($130 million) to support initiatives under the agreement, including the establishment of a training centre for police recruits.
While the agreement does not restrict Papua New Guinea from signing security pacts with other nations, both countries have agreed to consult each other on security threats.
Prime Minister Marape acknowledged Australia’s ongoing support and highlighted the shared effect and consequences of events in the region. He emphasized that the agreement demonstrates the strong bond between the two nations, but Papua New Guinea maintains a foreign policy of being friends to all without picking sides.
The agreement follows a security pact signed between the United States and Papua New Guinea in May, which involved upgrades to local military bases.
In 2022, China and the Solomon Islands made headlines by announcing a bilateral security pact, raising concerns about the possibility of a Chinese military base in the western Pacific. Australia responded with increased diplomatic efforts in the Pacific region.
When asked about China, Prime Minister Marape emphasized that Papua New Guinea’s relationships with the U.S. and Australia do not come at the expense of relationships with other countries.