Fiji Sun

PNG won’t be used for ‘offensive military operations’, says PM


Papua New Guinea (PNG) will not be used as a base for “war to be launched”, and a defence agreement with the United States prohibited “offensive military operations”, its prime minister said on Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday a defence cooperatio­n deal signed with PNG earlier that day would expand the Pacific island nation’s capabiliti­es and make it easier for the U.S. military to train with its forces.

The deal sparked student protests amid concern it could embroil PNG in strategic competitio­n between the U.S. and China. read more

Prime Minister James Marape said the agreement was not a treaty and did not need to be ratified by parliament, adding he would release it in full for public scrutiny on Thursday.

“It’s not a military base to be set up here for war to be launched,” he told radio station 100FM. “There’s a specific clause that says that this partnershi­p is not a partnershi­p for PNG to be used as a place for launching offensive military operations from Papua New Guinea,” he said.

The United States and its allies are seeking to deter

Pacific island nations from building security ties with

China, a rising concern amid tension over Taiwan, and after Beijing signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands last year. China has been a major infrastruc­ture investor in PNG, which sits near important sea lanes and internatio­nal submarine cables linking the United States and ally Australia, that were crucial in World War Two.

Marape said PNG’s military is the weakest in the region at a time of high tensions. The boost provided by the United States would also improve domestic security and encourage more foreign investors to set up in the country of 9 million that is rich in natural resources but largely undevelope­d.

 ?? - Reuters PNG’s Prime Minister James Marape. ??
- Reuters PNG’s Prime Minister James Marape.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Fiji