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Updated January 29th, 2024 at 17:33 IST

Papua New Guinea Explores Security Cooperation Talks with China Amid Pacific Power Play

The outcome of these talks could shape the future security landscape in the Pacific nation.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Papua New Guinea's PM James Marape
Papua New Guinea's PM James Marape | Image:AP
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Papua New Guinea (PNG) is engaged in early discussions with China regarding a potential security and policing agreement, according to statements made by the country's Foreign Minister, Justin Tkachenko, in an interview with Reuters. The talks come in the wake of recent deadly riots in the capital, highlighting the pressing need for enhanced security measures.

In the midst of geopolitical jostling for influence in the Pacific region between the United States and China, Papua New Guinea has traditionally regarded Australia and the United States as its primary security partners, while acknowledging China's significant economic role in the nation.

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China initiated talks in September 

Foreign Minister Tkachenko revealed that China initiated talks in September, presenting an offer to provide assistance to PNG's police force in terms of training, equipment, and surveillance technology. While acknowledging China's vital economic partnership, Tkachenko emphasized that discussions with China have, until now, been limited to economic and trade matters.

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“We deal with China at this stage only at the economic and trade level. They are one of our biggest trading partners, but they have offered to assist our policing and security on the internal security side,” Tkachenko stated in the interview.

As of now, China's offer hasn't been accepted

The offer, currently in the early negotiation stages, involves a comprehensive assessment by Papua New Guinea to determine whether the proposed security and policing assistance from China duplicates existing support offered by Australia and the United States. Tkachenko emphasized that the discussions are ongoing and that PNG has not yet accepted the Chinese offer.

“It is still in the early stages of negotiation with our commissioner of police and our minister of internal security,” he clarified.

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As this potential security cooperation unfolds, it adds a new layer to the complex dynamics of regional power relations, with Papua New Guinea carefully navigating between its traditional security allies and its growing economic ties with China. The outcome of these talks could shape the future security landscape in the Pacific nation.

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Published January 29th, 2024 at 17:33 IST

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