SEOUL: Prime Minister Hon. James Marape meet with the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Hon Richard Marles yesterday, on the margins of the inaugural Korea-Pacific Islands Summit in Seoul, Korea.
Prime Minister Marape and Deputy Prime Minister Marles discussed issues of concern for both countries including giving each other updates on the recently signed Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) with the United States and the proposed Bilateral Security Treaty (BST) with Australia, Visa issues and the PNG NRL Bid.
He informed Hon. Marles that the Bilateral Security Treat that Australia would like to have with Papua New Guinea is a work in progress at the moment.
“It is a work in progress and requires the PNG side to consult our domestic processes and sovereign laws in relation to certain wordings and provisions.
He also conveyed his apologies to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for the delay in formalising this proposed Treaty with Australia
For the DCA with the US, Prime Minister Marape informed that it was centred around improving the PNGDF’s capabilities and interoperability including protecting our frontiers and sovereignty.
He said it was non-discriminatory and PNG was open to entering into similar arrangements with its other bilateral partners.
“In fact, the DCA would also complement domestic law enforcement,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“The Ship Rider Agreement on the other hand was also vital in combating illegal fishing and transnational crimes.”
For Visa issues, Deputy Prime Minister Marles informed that the current Australian Government was fully aware of the situation and following the Ministerial Forum in February this year in Canberra, had established a Joint Ministerial Team to work on bringing the Australian visa processing facility back on shore to PNG.
Prime Minister Marape in his response said that all processes from both sides had to be attended to in order for smooth facilitation and for citizens and businesses to continue without much hindrance now and heading into 2O25 when PNG celebrates 50 years of nationhood.
He then informed Deputy Prime Minister Marles that the Republic of Korea and Papua New Guinea had just signed a Visa Waiver Agreement between both countries in the morning before his meeting with Hon. Marles.
On Papua New Guinea’s NRL Bid, Prime Minister Marape explained that PNG was still very keen, as rugby league was a major unifying factor, bringing our 800 tribes together as one people.
In closing Prime Minister Marape assured Deputy Prime Minister Marles that PNG in no way would compromise its excellent existing bilateral relations with Australia and further stressed that PNG was capable of managing its sovereign affairs on its terms, systems and processes.