Australia, Papua New Guinea Pledge New Security Pact

In a joint statement on Thursday, Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) pledged to execute a new security pact over the next four months that will include provisions aimed at combating climate change and protecting "independence, sovereignty, and resilience."

Australia, Papua New Guinea Pledge New Security Pact
Image credit: Twitter [via ABC]

Facts

  • In a joint statement on Thursday, Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) pledged to execute a new security pact over the next four months that will include provisions aimed at combating climate change and protecting "independence, sovereignty, and resilience."
  • Marking the first address to PNG's Parliament by a foreign leader since its independence in 1975, Australian PM Anthony Albanese said the Bilateral Security Treaty would bolster the economic and security interests of both nations, with negotiations set to conclude in April and the treaty signed in June.
  • Referring to the issues of the region, PNG PM James Marape cited his nation's location at the center of "the Indo-Pacific confluence," adding that "in order for PNG to participate in a safer Indo-Pacific region, PNG herself must be stronger economically."
  • The pact comes as Australia and its western allies try to shutter China's growing ambitions in the region, including Beijing's new pact with the Solomon Islands in April 2022.
  • Both countries have denied that the China-Solomon Islands agreement hurried the new security pact, with PM Marape clarifying that "the PNG-China relationship remains the PNG-China relationship. At no instance was China or any other nation brought into the picture."
  • Even though PNG will sign a pact with Australia, the nation will reportedly continue to strengthen its ties with China, which has become an economic supporter of PNG exports and is currently building a hospital for its military.

Sources: Guardian, Al Jazeera, Associated Press, Reuters, Abc, and Rfa.

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by AntiWar. As recently as last year, Papa New Guinea's prime minister had expressed his concerns over being caught in the middle of a conflict between China and the West. Though the Indo-Pacific nation has acknowledged the convenience of military relations with Australia given their close proximity, it's clear that, along with many other regional countries, it has no desire to provoke China the way the US and its major allies have been doing.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Strategist. As Australia and PNG are less than three miles from each other at their closest points, their relationship is unique. Due to this fact, it's important for Australia to continue to support its neighbors in a way that bolsters their growth and resilience. Though Albanese must be careful not to make PNG severely dependent on Australian aid, this pact is both an economic and military win for both countries in the face of China's growing Indo-Pacific footprint.

Predictions