US admiral to announce APEC in-shore security agreement

PORT MORESBY, 23 AUGUST 2018 (POST COURIER) – Admiral Philip S. Davidson, the Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), arrived Wednesday in Port Moresby.

During his visit, Adm Davidson is expected to meet with high-level PNG government officials and military personnel from the Papua New Guinea Defense Force.

He will also announce an agreement for the United States to provide in-shore security during APEC Leaders’ Week.

As part of this in-shore security package, United States Coast Guard transportable port security boats with Coast Guard personnel will operate out of an Australian landing helicopter dock (LHD) ship.

This is in coordination with security partners from the PNGDF, Australia and New Zealand.

This US-provided in-shore element is critical for the overall security and success of APEC.

This is because of the coastal setting of APEC Haus and important transportation routes.

It reflects the US government’s commitment, not only to a successful APEC, but also to the overall safety and security of PNG and the Indo Pacific region.

Meanwhile, Exercise Paradise is currently being held along the shoreline of Port Moresby near restricted areas identified by the PNG Defence Force.

These areas include the APEC Haus at Ela Beach and the areas where the three cruise ships will be stationed during the APEC meeting in November.

Colonel Siale Diro, who is chief of operations, said that the exercise started last week and is continuing with the support of the Australian and New Zealand Navy ships.

He said while the operations are going on, they would be playing a more support role during the APEC, especially during the all important leaders meeting in November.

“We will be playing a support role to the police who are leading the security aspect of the APEC meetings; our maritime capability is going through different scenarios that may occur while the meeting is on,” he said.

Supporting the Col Diro were Deputy Secretary for the PNGDF Simon Tunapai, Commander Willie Galian who is exercise director and Commander John Cowan from the Australian Navy.

Both commanders said that the operation has seen both the Australian New Zealand and PNG Defence Forces come together to conduct the maritime aspect of the exercise.

“Observers include New Zealand, Timor Leste and Fiji,” they said.

Onboard Lakekamu, the PNG Navy vessel, the media and the dignitaries were allowed to witness how the navy would respond and assess threats, move towards the threat and end the threat.

The media were able to watch the threat assessment exercise with Col Diro pointing out the effectiveness and the work commitments the PNGDF Navy has gone over through various exercises.