Japanese foreign minister to visit Papua New Guinea

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will today visit Papua New Guinea as the first stop on a six-day regional tour

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Photo: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will today visit Papua New Guinea as the first stop on a six-day regional tour that will also include ASEAN nations Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

Ministerial visits are frequent between Tokyo and Port Moresby, as Papua New Guinea is the largest recipient of Japanese aid among Pacific island nations. The two nations are expected to discuss a cooperative economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as concerns including increasing Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.

Expect Japan to rally support from Papua New Guinea to push back against Beijing’s activity in the region, following China’s recent encroachment on neighbouring Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone and sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat. As Papua New Guinea already hosts Lombrum Naval Base—an acting base for US and Australia military forces—Tokyo may need to soothe Port Moresby’s concerns of over-militarisation and growing political tensions in the area, likely through increased infrastructure or defence aid.

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