Australia The ‘Security Partner Of Choice’ In South Pacific

Australia The ‘Security Partner Of Choice’ In South Pacific

On Tuesday, Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese affirmed that Australia stands as the premier “security ally” for its close neighbour Papua New Guinea (PNG), following revelations that China had initiated discussions for a policing and security arrangement.

PNG Foreign Minister Justin Tkachenko said that China approached PNG in September with proposals to support its police force through training, equipment provision, and surveillance technology. He emphasised that discussions were in preliminary stages and assured that PNG remained committed to its security relationships with Australia and the United States, prioritising their integrity.

In December, PNG sealed a security agreement worth A$200 million with Australia aimed at enhancing police training after a defence agreement with the United States was forged in May, both awaiting implementation.

Early this month, a Chinese ambassador to Australia stressed Beijing’s intentions were mainly focused on policing, not defence, to alleviate Australia’s concerns about Beijing’s growing regional influence.

Tkacheno said China’s offer of policing and internal security assistance was “being carefully assessed, as we do not want to duplicate or compromise agreements already in place with our traditional security partners, Australia and the United States of America.”