Posted on 12 February 2024
Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, James Marape, is expected in Canberra this week to discuss ongoing geopolitical issues regarding Australia, China, and PNG. Marape is among the first to be afforded the honor of addressing a joint sitting of the Australian Parliament.
This visit aims to reassure Australia of PNG's commitment as a strong security partner and to maintain its status as "an important traditional security partner." It comes after lengthy security discussions between China and PNG, as well as amid increasing pressure within PNG following unrest and violence in the capital city, Port Moresby. Furthermore, Marape could face a vote of no confidence beginning this Friday due to rising political tensions in the PNG region.
The visit has encountered critism, with some members of PNG’s opposition stating, "it's astonishing that Albanese would invite Marape to a state visit days before the vote of no confidence in the PNG leader was opened." However, Marape has clarified that the meeting was scheduled a year ago and aims to enhance trade and security between PNG and Australia.
For Australia, this visit seeks to strengthen the security agreement signed by the two parties two months ago. It also presents an opportunity for Australia to maintain its influence in the Pacific region amidst China's growing presence, as noted by The Guardian.