Prime Minister Marape to Strengthen Bilateral Ties with China

Prime Minister Marape convened a significant meeting today with His Excellency Mr. Zang Fanhua, Resident Chinese Ambassador, to finalise crucial policy, logistical, and administrative preparations for his forthcoming Official Visit to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from 16th to 19th October 2023.

Before embarking on his Official Visit, Prime Minister Marape is set to deliver the Keynote Address at the Inaugural PNG-Asia Investment Conference in Hong Kong on the morning of 16th October. Following this, he will depart for Beijing on the same day. His visit to Hong Kong on 15th October will commence with a bilateral meeting with Mr. John Lee, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region (SAR), followed by a series of meetings with major Chinese and Asian Investors.

In a significant shift from past meetings, this event marks the first of its kind, diversifying its focus beyond mining, petroleum, and energy. The discussions will encompass economic infrastructure development, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, innovative technologies, information communication technology, retail industries, banking, financing, and more. Prime Minister Marape expressed, “There is a great need to harness the economic opportunities presented by the Asian markets in PNG’s quest to be an industrialised society through downstream processing and value addition, and this Conference provides that opportunity.”

During the Official Visit, Prime Minister Marape is scheduled to meet with Premier Li Qiang on the afternoon of 16th October, followed by a meeting with President Xi Jinping on 17th October. Furthermore, he will attend the 03rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, where he will deliver a statement addressing the impact of the environment and conservation.

Following the meeting with Premier Li, various bilateral arrangements will be formalised, including local currency settlement cooperation, higher education initiatives, technical education collaboration between the University of Goroka and UPNG, infrastructure development, curriculum development, and the commencement of the feasibility study for the Proposed Free Trade Agreement.

Prime Minister Marape emphasised, “I will also witness the formalisation of PNG’s membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) based in Beijing and the upgrading of the Air Services Agreement between Guangzhou and Port Moresby.”

He added, “I expect practical outcomes from my discussions with President Xi and Premier Li, with a primary focus on commerce, trade, and investment, alongside security cooperation. In fact, I will meet with three major Chinese Investors, offering land and inviting them to establish their downstream and manufacturing plants in PNG to process Forestry, Fisheries, and coffee as finished products for regional and global markets.”

To ensure tangible outcomes from this Official Visit, Prime Minister Marape has committed to issuing specific instructions to the relevant Sector Ministries and Departments to fully implement the outcomes of the Visit and report back to the National Executive Council (NEC), including sustainable monitoring and evaluation of the implementation phases.

Prime Minister Marape is accompanied by relevant Sectoral Ministers and Departmental and Agency Heads during these international engagements and is expected to return to the country on 20th October.