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PNG-US security deal nothing to do with China, says PNG PM

 The United States-Papua New Guinea Defence Cooperation Agreement signed in Port Moresby recently has nothing to do with China, says Prime Minister James Marape.

“China doesn’t care what we are doing,” he said.

“This (agreement) is about making sure our Defence Force is well-equipped to deal with any threats that may arise, which include natural disasters,” Marape said.

China’s ambassador to PNG Zeng Fanhua said Beijing had no issue with PNG developing partnerships with other countries.

Zeng said PNG and the rest of the Pacific did not care about geopolitical struggles between other non-Pacific Island nations.

PM Marape said what China did not want to see were “geopolitical games” being played in the Pacific.

“China will be here to support PNG’s development aspirations and its people,” Marape said.

Meanwhile, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said that there was yet to be discussions on the number of US troops to be stationed in PNG, once the agreement was ratified by Parliament.

PNG Defence secretary Hari John Akipe explained that there would be another implementation agreement to complement the one signed on Monday.

Mr. Akipe said the implementation agreement would outline the number of US personnel and the capacity in which they would be stationed in the country.

“The PNG Defence Force will receive more from the US through this agreement (compared) with the support we used to get before.

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