SEOUL: Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. James Marape and Republic of Korea Foreign Minister H.E. Park Jin yesterday (Monday, May 29, 2023) signed reciprocal Visa Waiver Arrangements between the two countries in Seoul, Korea.

PM Marape said work for this arrangement started in 2016 and was now concluded with the signing of the arrangement.

“We have worked on this since 2016. I believe the delay was on our part but it is better late than never,” he said.

PM Marape said PNG and Korea already participated in the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) scheme, where members used the ABTC cards as a visa, to travel to other member economies and also as a visa exemption or entry permit to travel within the confines of member economies. 

PM Marape said the new reciprocal Visa Waiver Arrangements would allow officials TO travel between both countries. He said PNG would also look into putting in place visa-on-arrival systems for all other Korean passport holders.

PM Marape said the signing of the agreement was of great joy to him as someone who believes in the Korean success story.

He said it would mean better relations between both countries including people to people, businesses and investors.

PM Marape said he would like to see more Korean investors and businesses come into PNG to do business, and to have more PNG products, including coffee, sold to the Korean market.

He told Minister Park that there were already many Korean products in PNG shops, offices and homes, including brands such as Samsung and Hyundai. A Korean construction company has won the construction contract for the Papua LNG Project.

PM Marape said he was aware of the concerns of the Government of Korea on the safety of Koreans who live and do business in PNG.

He assured the Korean Foreign Minister that safety was of paramount importance in PNG and people who perpetrated incidents like the one that took the life of a Korean citizen last week would face the full force of the law.

“You would have noted our signing with the USA of the Defense Corporation Agreement. It is not just for their presence, it is important for our local law-and-order strategy,” PM Marape said.

“Protecting our sea space, air space, land border and ramping up on our law-and-order enforcement capabilities are of paramount importance.”

PM Marape also told Minister Park that while PNG share challenges faced by Pacific Island countries, he wanted one-on-one bilateral arrangements with Korea, apart from the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) arrangements.

Minister Park assured PM Marape that he would look into one-on-one bilateral arrangements with PNG, apart from the arrangements with the PIF.