By Theckla Gunga – EMTV News
US Vice President has made the biggest announcement this year, in terms of defense cooperation saying they will support Australia and Papua New Guinea build a naval base on Manus.
Mike Pence said this as he warned countries not to get into debt and to put the interest of their countries first. The move is to counter China’s growing influence in the region and to ease the anxiety of the US and Australia.
The US Vice President arrived in Port Moresby where he was met by Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel, the US ambassador to PNG Catharine Ebert-Gray and other government officials.
Pence’s presence in the country is historic for Papua New Guinea, especially at a time where Chinese assistance in PNG is also growing.
After a brief appearance at the airport, Pence was driven straight to the CEO Summit where he announced US’s plans for the Indo Pacific.
These include stronger security and economic partnerships with its allies, and the support to build the joint Naval base in LombrumThis is the first time, a US Vice president is in Papua New Guinea for economic talks on improving security and economic trades between both governments.
But American’s support towards the establishment of a naval base in Lombrum will not go down well people who own the land, the locals from Manus.
On Thursday, Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin says the PNG Government should not enter into any bilateral agreements with Australia without first consulting the provincial government.
He was referring to the establishment of the joint naval base and now decommissioned detention center. But while the news of this military establishment is being denied by the PNG and Australian governments since September, the United States has announced its support to build the naval base and Australia will be giving four new naval vessels to PNGDF over the next three years.