Australia and Papua New Guinea pledge new security pact

"We agree that BST strengthens their position as vital security partners and assists both countries to protect and enhance our sovereignty and resilience."

Australia and Papua New Guinea announced that both governments have finalised a security agreement to deepen defence cooperation between the two countries.

“We reaffirm our commitment to further enhance strategic cooperation between Papua New Guinea and Australia through the development of a Bilateral Security Treaty (BST), pursuant to the 2020 Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership (CSEP),” the joint statement read.

“As near neighbours, close friends and equal partners, Papua New Guinea’s and Australia’s defence and security are deeply connected. We share a mutual strategic interest in a safe, stable, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific. We have a proud history of working together in the interests of the region,”

the statement added.

It added BST will provide an enabling framework for current and future traditional and non-traditional security cooperation. It would also facilitate the practical broadening and deepening of our security cooperation while sitting above existing arrangements, programs, and activities.

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Experts agree that the security agreement between the two countries will be viewed as a significant development and a countermeasure to China’s growing influence in the region.

China signed its own security agreement with Papua New Guinea’s neighbouring Solomon Islands, causing Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the US to follow suit.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said their relationship is essential and their national security is “almost indivisible.”

“A more secure PNG is a more secure Australia and vice versa. We regard ourselves as family, not just as friends. And families need to always look after each other,”

said PM Albanese

In the joint statement, both sides said BST strengthen their position as vital security partners and assist both countries to protect and enhance our sovereignty and resilience.

The agreement also recognises that because their security interests are intertwined, including by virtue of our geography, decisions taken by one country affect the security of the other.