USA signed a new security pact on Monday with Papua New Guineain full competition with China for his influence on the Peaceful.
The location of Papua New Guinea, just north of Australia, gives it great strategic importance. It was the scene of bloody battles during the Second World War and, with a population of almost 10 million people, it is the most populous island nation in the Pacific.
According to him Department of State, The new agreement will provide a framework to help improve security cooperation, increase the capacity of the Papua New Guinean defense forces and increase regional stability.
At a working breakfast, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marapé, He stated that his country faces major security challenges, from skirmishes within the country to illegal fishing boats that light up the night like skyscrapers.
“We have internal security and sovereignty problems,” Marape declared. “We are reinforcing that front to make sure our borders are secure.”
But the agreement sparked student protests in the second largest city, Lae. AND many in the Pacific are concerned about the growing militarization of the region.
Student Naomi Kipoi, 17, said she opposed the security pact because it would mean the United States could go to her country whenever it wanted without permission. She said that China had helped her country a lot by building roads and funding schools.
“The United States has not helped us with aid and other things,” Kipoi said. “They’re just trying to sign the deal.”
Last year, the nearby Solomon Islands signed its own security pact with China, a move that raised alarm across the Pacific. The United States has increased its attention to the Pacific, opening embassies in the Islands solomon and Tongareactivating the volunteer efforts of the Peace Corps and encouraging more business investment.
But some have questioned the extent to which the United States is a reliable partner in the Pacific, especially after President Joe Biden canceled his plans to make a historic stop in Papua New Guinea to sign the pact. Biden would have been the first sitting US president to visit a Pacific island country, but he ended up canceling his visit to focus on debt limit negotiations in his country.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled in Biden’s place and arrived in Papua New Guinea early on Monday. In response to the news of Blinken’s impending visit, China warned against introducing “geopolitical games” in the region.
In addition to the defense pact, the United States planned to sign a maritime agreement with Papua New Guinea that would allow the US Coast Guard to collaborate with the Pacific country in the fight against illegal fishing.
The US visit coincided with a trip by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who organized a meeting with Pacific Island leaders to discuss ways to improve cooperation.
Blinken met with New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and stated that both nations have a shared vision for the region.
“Ensure that it remains free, open, secure and prosperous”, Blinken stated.
Hipkins told Blinken that he was very glad that Blinken had made the trip.
“The increase in the American presence in the Pacific is something that we welcome,” Hipkins said.
But Hipkins also made a distinction with his own nation’s efforts.
“We are not interested in the militarization of the Pacific”Hipkins told reporters before meeting with Blinken. “We are interested in working with the Pacific on issues in which we have a mutual interest. Issues related to climate change. And we are not going to put military conditions on that support.”
Hipkins was one of the few leaders who ventured to speak publicly. He was enthusiastically greeted by hundreds of supporters when he visited Gordons Market, a large fruit and vegetable market.
(With information from AP)
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