Australia, Papua New Guinea Pledge New Security Pact

    Australia, Papua New Guinea Pledge New Security Pact
    Last updated Jan 12, 2023
    Image credit: Twitter [via ABC]


    • 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."[1]
    • 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.[2]
    • 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."[3]
    • 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.[4]
    • 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."[5]
    • 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.[6]


    Establishment-critical narrative

    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 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.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 16% chance that there will be a US-China war by 2035, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split