Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister (PM) James Marape met with the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Richard Marles on the margins of the inaugural Korea-Pacific Islands Summit in Seoul, Korea.
Both leaders discussed issues of concern for both countries including giving updates on the recently signed Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) with the United States and the proposed Bilateral Security Treaty (BST) with Australia, Visa issues and the PNG NRL Bid.
Marape informed Marles that the Bilateral Security Treaty that Australia would like to have with PNG is a work in progress and requires the PNG side to consult the country’s domestic processes and sovereign laws in relation to certain wordings and provisions.
He also conveyed apologies to Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, for the delay in formalizing this proposed Treaty with Australia.
For the DCA with the US, Marape informed that it was centered on improving the PNGDF’s capabilities and interoperability including protecting our frontiers and sovereignty and would complement domestic law enforcement.
“The Ship Rider Agreement on the other hand was also vital in combating illegal fishing and transnational crimes.”
For Visa issues, Marape provided that the current Australian Government was fully aware of the situation. Following the Ministerial Forum this year in Canberra, a joint Ministerial Team had been established to work on bringing back the Australian Visa processing facility to PNG.
“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 2050 when PNG celebrates 50 years of nationhood.”
On Papua New Guinea’s NRL Bid, Marape explained that PNG was still very keen, as rugby league was a major unifying factor, bringing our 800 tribes together as one people.