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China, Papua New Guinea in talks on policing, security cooperation after deadly riots

Papua New Guinea is in early talks with China on a potential security and policing deal, Foreign Minister Justin Tkachenko said, weeks after deadly riots in the South Pacific nation’s capital.

Amid jostling between Washington and Beijing for influence in the Pacific, Papua New Guinea (PNG) – the biggest Pacific island nation – has previously said Australia and the United States are its security partners, while China is an important economic partner.

China approached PNG in September with an offer to assist its police force with training, equipment and surveillance technology, Tkachenko said in an interview on Monday. Talks continued last week.


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“We deal with China at this stage only at economic and trade level. They are one of our biggest trading partners, but they have offered to assist our policing and security on the internal security side,” Tkachenko said.

PNG will assess if the Chinese offer duplicates security and policing help already being offered by Australia and the United States, he said.

“It is still in early stages of negotiation with our Commissioner of Police and our Minister of Internal Security,” he said. “They have offered it to us, but we have not accepted it at this point in time.”

China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

China is a “strong economic partner” of PNG, and the two nations formed diplomatic ties in 1975, Tkachenko said.

PNG signed a A$200 million (US$132 million) security deal with Australia last month to boost policing, and days later Prime Minister James Marape told an investment conference in Sydney that he had not held talks with China on security when he visited Beijing in