PM Marape holds bilateral with Australia on margins of Korea-Pacific Islands Summit

By: PNG Business News June 05, 2023

Photo: Prime Minister Hon. James Marape and Australia Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Richard Marles in Seoul, Korea.-DEPARTMENT OF PM & NEC MEDIA

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape met with the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Hon. Richard Marles on Monday, May 29, 2023, on the margins of the inaugural Korea-Pacific Islands Summit in Seoul, Korea.

PM Marape and DPM Marles discussed issues of concern for both countries, including giving each other updates on the recently-signed Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) with the United States and the proposed Bilateral Security Treaty (BST) with Australia, visa issues and the PNG NRL bid.

He informed DPM Marles that the Bilateral Security Treat that Australia would like to have with Papua New Guinea “is a work in progress at the moment”.

“It is a work in progress and requires the PNG side to consult our domestic processes and sovereign laws in relation to certain wordings and provisions,” PM Marape said.

He also conveyed his apologies to Australian Prime Minister Hon. Anthony Albanese for the delay in formalising this proposed Treaty with Australia

For the DCA with the US, PM Marape informed that it was centered around improving the PNG Defence Force’s capabilities and interoperability, including protecting our frontiers and sovereignty.

He said it was non-discriminatory and PNG was open to entering into similar arrangements with its other bilateral partners.

“In fact, the DCA would also complement domestic law enforcement,” PM Marape said.

“The Ship Rider Agreement, on the other hand, was also vital in combating illegal fishing and transnational crimes.”

For Visa issues, DPM Marles informed that the current Australian Government was fully aware of the situation and following the Ministerial Forum in February this year in Canberra, had established a Joint Ministerial Team to work on bringing the Australian visa processing facility back on shore to PNG.

PM Marape, in his response, said that all processes from both sides had to be attended to in order for smooth facilitation and for citizens and businesses to continue without much hindrance now and heading into 2O25 when PNG celebrated 50 years of nationhood.

He informed DPM Marles that the Republic of Korea and PNG signed a Visa Waiver Agreement on Monday before the Australia-PNG bilateral.

On PNG’s NRL Bid, PM Marape explained that PNG was still very keen, as rugby league was a major unifying factor, bringing 800 tribes together as one people.

In closing, PM Marape assured DPM Marles that PNG in no way would compromise its excellent existing bilateral relations with Australia and further stressed that PNG was capable of managing its sovereign affairs on its terms, systems and processes.

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