Headline: Australia and Papua New Guinea Forge Comprehensive Security Agreement Strengthening Bilateral Ties
In a move highlighting the close relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG), a bilateral security agreement has been signed in Canberra. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and PNG’s James Marape formalized the deal, which emphasizes support for PNG’s police force and legal system.
The agreement follows PNG’s earlier defense deal with the United States in May, aimed at upgrading its military bases. James Marape described the agreement with Australia as a testament to the “brother and sister” bond between the two nations, acknowledging Australia’s historical role in establishing PNG’s judiciary, public service, and borders before gaining independence 48 years ago.
Australian Prime Minister Albanese characterized the agreement as “comprehensive and historic,” facilitating Australia’s assistance in addressing PNG’s internal security needs. He expressed gratitude for the support given by PNG’s population to Australian service members during World War Two, solidifying a defense relationship rooted in sacrifice.
The agreement emphasizes the importance of enhancing PNG’s capabilities for Pacific-led regional security and stability. Australia and PNG commit to prioritizing consultations on security-related equipment, infrastructure, and training. The agreement encompasses various areas, including training for PNG’s police, resources for the judiciary, and measures to combat gender-based violence. Additionally, it addresses climate change, cyber security, and disaster relief.
This development occurs against the backdrop of increasing rivalry between the United States and China in the Asia Pacific. China’s efforts to strengthen its security presence in the Pacific Islands have raised concerns, prompting Australia to advocate for security provided by Pacific countries themselves.
The agreement signifies a commitment to cooperation in the face of emerging challenges, including the strategic positioning of PNG along crucial shipping lanes. The deal aims to strengthen ties between the two nations while addressing internal and regional security needs.