The Pacific region is currently an important pole of economic development. It is possible that this area, which includes emerging powers such as China and India—the most populous countries in the world—will become an epicenter of geopolitical disputes.
In recent years, China has projected its economic dynamism throughout the region through trade and cooperation alliances. While China continues to expand its influence through economic relations, the United States has sought a way to halt this advance through alliances such as the Quad, which includes Australia, Japan, and India. In the same way, the US formed the AUKUS military alliance, a security bloc made up of the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, with a view to controlling the South Pacific.
A new element has been added to this scenario: a defense cooperation agreement signed between the United States and Papua New Guinea in May. According to the US secretary of state and signatory to the pact, Antony Blinken, this will increase the defense capabilities of Papua New Guinea and increase its military presence in the South Pacific at a time when tensions in the region are heightening.
Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea’s position has been ambiguous. On the one hand, Prime Minister James Marape affirmed that the security pact contains a clause that prohibits the oceanic nation “from being used as a place to launch offensive military operations” and, on the other hand, pointed out that China will continue to be its largest trading partner, and its ties with China will not be affected.
Papua New Guinea, situated to the north of Australia, is strategically located, as the United States could station troops and ships at six key ports and airports, including the Lombrum naval base on Manus Island and facilities in the capital, Port Moresby. This would allow US warships to move freely through the waters of Papua New Guinea.
Regarding this maneuver, China’s position was firm: it is not opposed to normal exchanges and equal cooperation, but it is opposed to “geopolitical games,” stating that “no cooperation should be directed against third parties.”
Although the Papua New Guinean authorities deny it, they are handing over their sovereignty to the United States, which will now have the ability to enter and exit the oceanic country through its vast sovereign waters.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
Misión Verdad is a Venezuelan investigative journalism website with a socialist perspective in defense of the Bolivarian Revolution
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