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Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister turns into first Pacific chief to handle Australia’s Parliament

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Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape addresses members and senators within the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on February 8, 2024.
| Photo Credit: AP

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape on February 8 grew to become the primary Pacific chief to handle Australia’s Parliament, vowing “nothing will come in between our two countries”.

The nations introduced that Australia will spend AUD 100 million ($65.3 million) on Papua New Guinea’s inside safety, together with the event of a police recruiting and investigation coaching facility and a police barracks.

The speech, Mr. Marape’s assembly together with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese and the neighbours’ launch of particulars of a safety pact signed in December, come as Pacific nations take care of China’s rising ambitions.

Also learn | Australia finalising new safety pact with Pacific neighbour

Resource-rich Papua New Guinea has rebuffed overtures from China, which struck a safety pact with the Solomon Islands in 2022 that prompted fear amongst some within the area.

Papua New Guinea, which is in a strategically essential a part of the South Pacific, struggles with tribal violence and civil unrest and needs to extend its police numbers from 6,000 officers to 26,000. Anger over excessive unemployment and price of dwelling led to rioting and looting final month in its two greatest cities.

Papua New Guinea and Australia “reaffirmed their commitment to the region’s existing security architecture as a key driver of security cooperation”, a joint assertion between Mr. Marape and Mr. Albanese stated.

Papua New Guinea is a nation of principally subsistence farmers the place some 800 languages are spoken. With 10 million individuals, it’s the most populous South Pacific nation after Australia, which is dwelling to 26 million.

Australia Foreign Minister Penny Wong stated James Marape’s historic speech elevated Australia’s relationship with the Pacific.

“We know that China is a great power asserting its interests,” she advised reporters. “What we are doing is reemphasising our part in the Pacific family and the importance of that engagement.” After final month’s civil unrest, a variety of Papua New Guinea Ministers resigned and an under-pressure Mr. Marape could quickly face a vote of no confidence.

“We must become a strong country standing on our own two feet, economically independent and strong so we too can help Australia maintain democracy, preserve peace and ensure stability…. in our Pacific,” he stated in his speech.

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