With Papua New Guinea’s approval, the US military will be able to operate military bases, as well as have “unimpeded access” to sites for “stockpiling of equipment, supplies, and materiel” and the deployment of troops and ships.
The United States gained the right to use military bases in Papua New Guinea, under a security agreement it struck with the archipelago last May, as part of its efforts to outflank China in the Pacific.
He presented the full text of the agreement, which has been kept secret since its signingon the Parliament of Papua New Guinea on Wednesday evening, allowing its details to be revealed.
With Papua New Guinea’s agreement, the United States will be able to station troops and ships at major airports, as well as locations such as Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island and a seaport in the capital, Port Moresby.
The agreement provides for granting Washington the right to “unhindered access” to the sites for “pre-storage of equipment, supplies and ammunition”, and the right to “exclusive use” of some sectors of the bases that may witness “construction activities”.
Prime Minister James Marape was forced to defend the agreement in the face of a wave of protests accusing the authorities of abandoning the country’s sovereignty.
“We have let our army weaken in the last 48 years,” Marabi told parliament on Wednesday evening, stressing that “sovereignty is determined by the solidity and strength of the army.”
He also stressed that the agreement is not related to geopolitics, but rather recognizes the country’s need to build its defense capabilities, “because border disputes are inevitable in the future.”
Papua New Guinea, located on the main sea routes, has become a major axis in the diplomatic confrontation between Washington and Beijing.