US, Papua New Guinea sign defense agreement as Modi supports Pacific Islands.

US, Papua New Guinea sign defense agreement as Modi supports Pacific Islands.
Image: Reuters

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Papua New Guinea’s defense cooperation agreement would strengthen its capabilities and make training with the US military easier.

Blinken and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held separate meetings in Port Moresby with 14 Pacific island leaders, pledging support for the region’s health, development, and climate change priorities.

After Beijing signed a security treaty with the Solomon Islands and tensions with Taiwan rose, the United States and its allies are attempting to discourage Pacific island nations from forming security ties with China.

Pacific island leaders, whose territories cover 40 million square kilometers (15 million square miles) of ocean, say rising sea levels caused by climate change are their top security concern.

Blinken told PNG Prime Minister James Marape that Washington would deepen its partnership with PNG across the board and that he expected tens of billions of dollars in new investment from US business partnerships.

The agreement has nothing to do with China

After university students protested the defense agreement on Monday, Marape told a news conference with Blinken, “there is nothing for us to be afraid of.”

The agreement “has nothing to do with China” and modernizes the US-China military relationship.

“We have a healthy relationship with the Chinese government, and they are an important trading partner,” Marape explained.

On Sunday, Marape stated that the defense agreement would increase the United States’ military presence in the region over the next decade, while the State Department stated that it would strengthen regional security.

“The defence cooperation was drafted by the United States and Papua New Guinea as equals and sovereign partners,” Blinken said during a signing ceremony.

Blinken stated that it will increase PNG defense capacity to improve humanitarian aid and disaster response, as well as facilitate US-PNG training.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning stated that China has no objections to mutually beneficial cooperation with Pacific island nations such as PNG, but that “what we need to be vigilant about is engaging in geopolitical games in the name of cooperation, and we also believe that no cooperation should target any third parties.”

The United States and PNG also agreed to increase US Coast Guard patrols in PNG’s exclusive economic zone to combat illegal fishing.

Blinken stated that the United States will provide $45 million to PNG to strengthen economic and security cooperation, including protective equipment for the PNG defense force, climate change mitigation, transnational crime, and HIV/AIDS.

Nation leaders invited to a meeting at the Whitehouse

Because President Joe Biden canceled a trip to Asia to deal with the debt-ceiling crisis, Blinken led the US delegation in PNG.

Blinken informed the 14 Pacific island leaders that Biden had invited them to return to Washington in the fall for a follow-up summit to the White House summit last year.

Modi told the Forum for India-Pacific Island Cooperation that India was a trustworthy development partner dedicated to a “free, open, and inclusive Indo Pacific.”

“We are willing to share our capabilities and experiences in digital technology, space technology, health and food security, climate change, and environmental protection,” he said.

Modi stated that the leaders of Australia, the United States, Japan, and India met in Japan over the weekend and agreed to strengthen Pacific cooperation.

In PNG, the United States renewed a strategic agreement known as a Compact of Free Association (COFA) with Palau, and will sign another with Micronesia on Tuesday, under which it defends the nations and maintains access to large parts of the Pacific.

Blinken stated that the United States would commit $7.1 billion over 20 years to a third COFA with the Marshall Islands “very soon” and expressed excitement about the negotiations.

On Saturday, Biden’s COFA negotiator Joseph Yun said that he hoped to reach an agreement with the Marshall Islands in the coming weeks.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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