Australia the 'security partner of choice' in South Pacific, says PM Albanese

Australia the 'security partner of choice' in South Pacific, says PM Albanese
Australia the 'security partner of choice' in South Pacific, says PM Albanese

Hello and welcome to the details of Australia the 'security partner of choice' in South Pacific, says PM Albanese and now with the details

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says Australia is the ‘security partner of choice’ for neighbouring Papua New Guinea. — Reuters pic

SYDNEY, Jan 30 ― Australia is the “security partner of choice” for neighbouring Papua New Guinea (PNG), Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said today, after the biggest Pacific Island nation said China was seeking a policing and security deal.

Major trade partner China approached PNG in September with an offer to assist its police force with training, equipment and surveillance technology, PNG Foreign Minister Justin Tkachenko told Reuters on Monday.

Talks were at an early stage, and PNG would not jeopardise its security ties with Australia and the United States, he added.

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PNG struck a A$200 million (RM945 million) security agreement with Australia in December to boost police training, after forging a defence agreement with the United States in May, although both deals are yet to be implemented.

“We are the security partner of choice for Papua New Guinea, as we are for most of the countries in the Pacific,” Albanese told reporters on Tuesday, in response to questions.

China's ambassador to Australia said this month Beijing has a strategy to help Pacific Island nations with policing, not defence, and its growing presence in the region should not alarm Australia.

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In a statement today, Tkachenko 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”.

PNG has previously said it saw China as an economic partner, and Australia and the United States as security partners.

“We have a long standing and genuine relationship with China, where we can agree to disagree,” Tkachenko added.

In an effort to counter China's push to increase security ties in countries where Australia has long provided policing support, Australia pledged A$35 million for policing assistance in East Timor yesterday. ― Reuters

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