From bus stops to bridges: Chinese influence a 'wake-up' call
Schram says PNG is compromising university independence

Australian soldiers for PNG as fears grow about China's influence

ASFANDREW GREENE | Australian Broadcasting Corporation | Extract

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CANBERRA - Australian soldiers could soon begin regular military rotations to Papua New Guinea as anxiety over China's growing influence in the Pacific region continues to rise.

The ABC has learned planning for short-term troop deployments to the former Australian territory is well advanced, similar to the current army training rotations at Malaysia's Butterworth Air Force base.

About 30 Australian army officers are already embedded with the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF), but that number is down significantly on past decades.

A senior Defence department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Australia had "taken its eye off" PNG during the long Afghanistan war but was now "refocusing on its close neighbour".

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne has stopped short of confirming troop rotations are imminent but has flagged a greater Australian military presence in PNG.

"The Australian Government is in frequent contact with the PNG Government regarding their development priorities," Mr Pyne said in a statement.

"Australia looks forward to continuing to work with the PNG Government on its ambitions as part of our ongoing commitment to security and stability in the Pacific," he said.

Last week the ABC revealed Australian Special Forces soldiers had been deployed to PNG to help secure the capital Port Moresby ahead of November's meeting of APEC world leaders.

On Thursday Prime Minister Scott Morrison also refused to deny a report in The Australian newspaper that his government was planning to help build a new joint naval base at PNG's Manus Island.

Comments

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Philip Fitzpatrick

No doubt the Chinese will dam the Purari Robert and then sell the electricity to Australia (and PNG).

Robert Muka

Currently, the details surrounding PNG - China loan deals are shrouded in secrecy. If there is anything to learn from countries who had defaulted on their loans such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Zambia, Australia should not only move in with DF but also infrastructure development initiatives such as hydropower development of the Karimui /Purai hydroelectric power to secure its future clean power and water before Chinese take a foothold in PNG affecting Australia territorial boundaries.

Will Self

Did I just hear a stable door slamming?

Jeremy Smythe

No doubt Australian soldiers and military equipment will be transported to PNG from the port of Darwin, which Australia has already sold to a Chinese government-owned company.

And now we are worried about Manus becoming a Chinese entity after we gave away our own strategic Northern Territory harbour/military base?

Great planning! What a hoot.

Dr Momia Teariki-Tautea

Australia, after its rapid exit at Independence and its subsequent attempts at aid assistance, mainly boomerang aid, benefiting its consultants rather than solid tangible on ground development ("manpower development" they called it) is now spurred into showing more interest in PNG because of China's massive development assistance.

The lame excuse is Afghanistan.

PNG politicians have always kowtowed to Australia and for what reason? Haven't we learned from experience?

After independence, PNG's public service running basic services, maintenance and improvement of the little infrastructure left as a legacy by its former colonial manager, basically ground to suboptimal levels.

Now Australia wants to have a military presence in PNG! How about building roads, wharfs, schools and "real" tangible physical infrastructure and providing real neeed services?

There are many of us who grew up, and schooled during the colonial days that have a broader perspective of what' Australia needs to do.

Ask us, not your "advisors " with superficial understanding of our needs and fail to respect cultural protocol.

Peter Sandery

At last the penny has appeared to have dropped in Canberra about Chinese influence in PNG specifically and the Pacific in general. To my mind it was always a race as to whom would be the first to help re-develop the Manus naval establishment - China, Australia or India, the dark horse in the new great race for the Pacific.

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