World leaders turn focus to PNG, commended for APEC attendance: Pato

PORT MORESBY,13 SEPTEMBER 2018 (POST COURIER) – Leaders, foreign ministers, trade ministers, officials and media from the other 20 APEC economies are turning their attention to Papua New Guinea.

Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato in his ministerial statement in Parliament said through focus on APEC there is a rapidly growing recognition of PNG’s strategic location, a bridge to Southeast and Northeast Asia, adjacent to Australia and New Zealand and in the Blue Pacific sea continent.

“With that understanding comes a discovery by many nations that Papua New Guinea is an extremely resource-rich part of the world,” Pato said.

“We are a country that will reward investment and trade, and we are a spectacular destination just waiting to be developed for specialised tourism.

“In connection with that, when I chaired the recent APEC meeting of the ministers responsible for trade, all advocated the need for sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth. At that time, I also met with world wrade organisation sirector, His Excellency Roberto Azevedo and reinforced our commitment to the rules-based international trading order.”

Pato said the APEC leaders’ summit in November looks set to gather together the leaders of most of the great economies of the world such as the USA, China, Japan , Russia, South Korea and Indonesia as well as of our allies, Australia, and New Zealand, and others.

“May I remind you that the leaders of the Blue Pacific have also accepted our invitation to attend as guests.

“We are very grateful for the considerable financial and material assistance given by APEC economies to assist us in hosting APEC,” he said.

“In this unique period of our history, let us all resolve to make the most, the unprecedented opportunities now open to us with APEC and the focus on the Pacific.

“May we see in our own country and our sister states in the Blue Pacific at peace and prosperity we all pray and yearn for.”

Meanwhile,Pato has commended the governments of United States, Japan, European Union, China, New Caledonia and France to name a few who will be here in November for APEC.

Pato said these countries among others have fostered strong ties with PNG and contributed immensely to its development. “The Government and people of PNG are looking forward to welcoming the leaders as time draws near for PNG to host APEC.” he said.

“PNG has had a close relationship with the people of the United States of America for many decades, mainly with missionaries, who provided a wonderful service to our nation and continue to do so.

“That underpins the firm friendship as a nation, which we see continuing, so it is with great pride and enormous expectation that we await the arrival of the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence.

“This visit comes at a time when the US is undergoing a review of its trading relationships, and we trust that the environment at APEC will provide an occasion when understandings between all the economies can be reached so that progress can be made.

“Our relationship with Japan is very close, and that is appreciated by both of us.

“Its recent policy working for a “free and open Pacific” is one we fully endorse and support, and hope that all nations will see the benefit of it.

“My attendance at the 2018 Palm conference in Japan allowed me to successfully work for united position on the Pacific.”

In a bilateral sense, it also showed the depth and strength of our relationship when we signed an air services agreement with the esteemed counterpart,Taro Kono.

“We are keen to see the Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe-San, visit PNG once again,” he said.

“That brings me to discuss an important friend and us development partner, the People’s Republic of China, whose eminent leader, His Excellency President Xi Jinping, will honour us with a State visit near the time of APEC.

“This will be a wonderful event, one which we are looking forward with great expectations. l have had two cordial bilaterals with Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, one in Vietnam at the 2018 PEC ministerial meeting, and recently in Beijing.

“Our relationship with the EU on a one-to-one basis can be demonstrated in its support for projects so far away from their homes. We are also active in the Africa Caribbean and Pacific group of states where I continue to be involved in discussions ahead of a new agreement with the European Union. I ensure I am actively involved on behalf of PNG in the ACP because it is a way of assisting the EU to maintain and expand its focus on the Pacific.”

After l worked hard to assist the admittance of New Caledonia to the Pacific Island Forum, I have put effort into developing friendly relationship. In May I visited Noumea for a high-level dialogue on biodiversity and climate change where French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Brian was present.

After a most useful bilateral meeting with President Philippe Germain, l met the President of France Emmanuel Macron, where we canvassed issues of significance to the Pacific. It was a very informative and friendly conversation.

These discussions were accompanied by a firm undertaking by President Germain, a true friend of PNG, to be an advocate for both of us.

“This doorway to France itself and the EU is extremely valuable to PNG,” he said.

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