PNG PM to highlight challenges at Beijing forum

PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neil. Picture: POST COURIER

BEIJING, 26 APRIL 2019 (POST COURIER) – Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping today, together with other world leaders when he makes his address at the last day of the One Belt One Road Global Forum to speak on vital issues pertaining to the Pacific and PNG.

O’Neill, who travelled with an entourage of ministers, will attend the opening ceremony and deliver a speech at a high-level meeting on “Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future”.

He will also attend a welcome banquet for leaders and their spouses hosted by President Xi and his wife, Madam Peng Liyuan, and will also have bilateral meetings with other leaders attending the Belt and Road Forum.

O’Neill is in Beijing for the Second Belt and Road Forum, that he said is of key interest for PNG to expand production from rural areas.

Last night, O’Neill said improving the infrastructure and supply chains needed to increase agricultural and other production for export, in countries such as PNG, is one of the important issues being discussed by world leaders in China today.

“In Papua New Guinea we have some of the most fertile soil in the world that can grow a wide range of food plants and feed livestock, but we have trouble getting it to markets,” he said.

“There are a lot of factors that cause this from transport networks, product handling, bureaucracy in government process, just to name a few.

“But these challenges can be overcome through a much more coordinated approach to the development of infrastructure and capacity building.

“We need to continue to increase our internal infrastructure development through greater investment, while at the same time strengthen our linkages with partner countries that make transportation more efficient.”

O’Neill said the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative of China’s President, is a matter that was discussed during Xi’s State Visit to PNG in 2018. PNG is a bridge between many Pacific islands and Asia, and the Belt and Road Initiative was well received by Pacific Leaders meeting on the margins of the APEC Summit.

“As the only Leader from the Pacific Island nation, I will convey the thoughts they conveyed in Port Moresby last year.

“There is everything to be gained from deeper co-operation with our partners to improve our capacity to help our producers, particularly SMEs.

“As a government, we will continue to improve our infrastructure and supply chains, increase investment and deepen regional co-operation,” O’Neill said.

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