International Relations. Papua New Guinea press review
Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have reaffirmed to strengthen their economic and trade co-operation ties amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The inaugural PNG-China Joint Economic and Trade Committee was held successfully in PNG. Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs Joseph Varo, and International Trade of PNG and Wang Shouwen, Vice-Minister of Commerce and Deputy China International Trade Representative co-hosted the meeting. Chinese Ambassador Xue Bing, interim charge d’affaires of PNG in China Vincent Sumale, Eastern Highlands Governor Peter Numu and representatives from China’s Provinces Fujian, Guangdong and Shenzhen City attended the meeting. Mr. Wang Shouwen said that Papua New Guinea was China’s largest economic and trade partner in the Pacific Islands region, and it was also the first country in the region to sign the MoU of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the co-operation plan on jointly promoting BRI with China. In turn, Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs Joseph Varo says that «PNG is committed to developing relations and practical cooperation with China. The two sides efficiently pushed forward the successful registration of 77 PNG fish products exporters that wished to export their products to China, bringing new opportunities for expanding bilateral trade scope». [1-2]
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $31 million (K107 million) loan to expand and improve the road network in Papua New Guinea, especially for three transport projects along the northern region road corridor and continue improvements to the Highlands core network in central PNG. According to ADB Country Director for PNG David Hill, «This facility is the foundation for implementing the government’s new Connect PNG strategy and will support the construction of key economically strategic roads for the next 10 to 15 years». The PNG northern region road network starts at the Indonesian–PNG border and runs almost 1,500 kilometers, connecting the major ports of Vanimo, Wewak, Madang, and Lae with the Highlands Highway and southern region road network. Improvements to the road network and the construction of missing links will make an important contribution to the economic growth of the region, which is home to about 40% of PNG’s population.