APEC 2018: How China is several moves ahead in Port Moresby

Picture by Solomon Kantha

In November every year, the  National budget usually takes center stage.  But not this year. This week,  the 2019 Budget came  two days before the start of the biggest meetings of APEC.  People were interested  in it for a day,  then it faded into the background.

Then BOOM… Enter China-US geopolitics…

On Thursday,  President Xi Jingping,   the most influential  world leader  in the Asia-Pacific arrived in Port Moresby with the largest delegation of officials.  They came on two large  planes and  the festivities for his  delegation demonstrated just how important China’s money  is to the PNG Government.

World politics is being  played out on  Papua New Guinea soil.  It already is, by the way.  From the ASEAN meeting in Singapore, US Vice President, Mike Pence indicated  he would be revealing how dangerous the Chinese One Belt One road Initiative  is to  the rest of the world including the Pacific.

This announcement comes on the back of a 60 billion US dollar funding (that’s  about 200 billion kina)   aimed at  the Asia Pacific region.  Also note that China has allocated the same amount to African countries for various projects including Infrastructure.  Australia has  announced its own funding initiatives  for the Pacific  of 7 billion kina.

In the Foreign Minister’s meeting, the US-China tension is already  being  felt as the US and China tussle over Free Trade and other issues.

On the ground in Port Moresby,  there is a strong presence of US and Australian Military presence.  From China, a strong trade presence and message about building relationships.   From the outset, China appears to have  all its moves planned out and  is  ticking off each  item on its list of things to do.

At least for the Government, the attention from World Leaders is important.  Maybe APEC is an opportunity.  Maybe it is a double edged sword – with opportunity on the one side and debt on the other as has been the case in other countries like Sri Lanka.

What stands out is China’s willingness to engage.  President Xi Jinping is here for four days.  America’s Trump and Russia’s Putin both  sent their number twos.

As US Vice President, Mike Pence,  tweeted and  jetted into Cairns,  Xi Jinping met with Pacific Island Forum leaders and representatives in Port Moresby in the afternoon.


1 comment on “APEC 2018: How China is several moves ahead in Port Moresby

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