LEVI J PARSONS & ZHANG NING | Xinhua | Extract
PORT MORESBY -- Papua New Guinea's business relationship with China is moving ahead in "leaps and bounds", according to Justin Tkatchenko, PNG’s minister responsible for APEC.
"Over the last six or seven years, the China-PNG relationship has grown extraordinarily," he told Xinhua.
"We've already got most of the biggest Chinese companies here already, investing huge amounts of money, time and effort looking at opportunities for new projects and new investment.
"The relationship that we have together is a perfect working relationship when everybody's working for one aim and one goal and that is to have mutual benefits all round, not just for China, not just for PNG, but for the region," he said.
With PNG gearing up to host the APEC leaders' meeting in November, a massive Chinese-led infrastructure boom already underway and direct flights from Shanghai set to take off before the end of the year, Tkatchenko believes China will have a "big role" to play in the long term growth of PNG.
Among the huge potential for cooperation in mining, education, healthcare, infrastructure and road development, the minister sees tourism as one of the most important sectors.
"The first direct flights from Shanghai to Port Moresby will increase our tourism greatly," he said.
"We need to look at building, with the Chinese investors, tourism resorts that suit the Chinese capacity and requirements and also highlight our culture, traditions, wildlife, scenery and food."
Despite a recent spike in tourism, Tkatchenko said he thinks 10 times more can be done to promote PNG.
But in order to make this vision a reality, ge said further infrastructure development is still needed.
"For us in the bilateral sense, it's about supporting the Belt and Road Initiative and working with China on how we can mutually benefit together to take that to the next level," he said.
"At the end of the day, it's all about securing long term benefits for both PNG and China, economically and physically, and also to secure understanding between both countries."