May 22 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken said on Monday that a defense cooperation agreement with Papua New Guinea would be signed that would expand the capabilities of the Pacific island nation and facilitate military training for U.S. forces. .
Blinken was also scheduled to meet with 14 Pacific Island leaders. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier pledged support to the Pacific islands at a summit in the capital Port Moresby.
The United States and its allies are trying to block the Pacific island nation from entering security ties with China, raising concerns amid tensions over Taiwan.
The leaders of the Pacific Islands, which cover 40 million square kilometers (15 million square miles) of sea, said: sea level rise The problems posed by climate change are our most pressing security priorities.
Blinken met with Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape and said the United States would deepen its full partnership with Papua New Guinea. The leaders discussed economic development, the climate crisis and the importance of continued U.S. engagement in the Pacific, according to documents released by the State Department.
“The defense cooperation was drafted by the United States and Papua New Guinea as equal and sovereign partners,” Brinken said at the signing ceremony.
Blinken said this would expand Papua New Guinea’s defense capabilities to enhance humanitarian assistance and disaster response, and facilitate joint training between US and Papua New Guinea forces.
“It will be completely transparent,” he added.
Another agreement would increase maritime surveillance of Papua New Guinea’s exclusive economic zone through U.S. Coast Guard patrols and protect the country’s economy from illegal fishing.
Brinken said the company partnerships would bring tens of billions of dollars worth of new investments to Papua New Guinea.
US President Joe Biden added, “I regret to inform you that you were unable to be here.”Biden is forced cancellation Traveled to Papua New Guinea during the debt ceiling negotiations in Washington.
Marape said the deal would give the Papua New Guinea Defense Force “the ability to know what’s going on in the waters—an ability it hasn’t had since 1975” and enhance economic security.
Several universities held campus protests against signing a defense cooperation agreement, which opposition politicians said would anger China. Marape denied that he would prevent Papua New Guinea from cooperating with its key trading partner, China.
He earlier said the U.S. defense pact is an extension of existing agreements.
Marape told media on Sunday that the defense pact would also increase the US military presence over the next decade.
The U.S. Department of State is working with Papua New Guinea to strengthen economic and security cooperation, including protective equipment for the Papua New Guinea Defense Forces, climate change mitigation, and tackling transnational crime and HIV/AIDS, and has launched new funding. announced that it would provide $45 million.
Prime Minister Modi told 14 leaders of the Indo-Pacific Islands Cooperation Forum that India is a credible development partner for small island states and committed to a “free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific”.
In his opening remarks, he said, “I have no doubt that we will share our capabilities and experiences in digital technology, space technology, health security, food security, climate change and environmental protection.”
Quad leaders from Australia, the United States, Japan and India agreed in Hiroshima to strengthen cooperation with the Pacific island nations, he added.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Marape urged India to think of small island states “suffering from the intervention of great powers.”
Marape said the war between Russia and Ukraine, for example, has caused inflation and higher fuel and electricity prices in the region’s smaller economies.
Historians say Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands were last year. signed a security agreement Cooperation with Beijing was essential for the United States to cross the Pacific and liberate the Philippines during World War II.
Reported by Kirsty Needham of Sydney.Editing: Lincoln Feast
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