Today I met with Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Defence, the Hon Saki Soloma MP, to discuss our enduring Defence Cooperation Program.
Australia’s defence partnership with PNG is deep and broad, based on our shared history, people-to-people linkages, and our shared interests in tackling regional and global security challenges.
Our meeting was an early opportunity to express Australia’s continued commitment to our defence partnership, to support a stable and prosperous Papua New Guinea.
As near neighbours, our security is directly tied to one another. Our discussions build on today’s announcement by Prime Minister Morrison and Prime Minister Marape of a $20 million package of defence initiatives to further strengthen our partnership.
We discussed ways to drive cooperation between our two countries to start negotiations towards a new, enhanced Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership (CSEP).
Further acknowledging our deepening relationship, Minister Soloma and I committed biannual Defence Ministerial meetings to drive the agenda forward.
Our discussions focused on highlighting Australia’s commitment to continue expanding cooperation in aviation, maritime, infrastructure and capability development, as PNG builds a strong and resilient Defence Force.
I look forward to visiting PNG with Assistant Defence Minister the Hon Alex Hawke MP this year.