• SPEECH BY MP PRIME MINISTER, PACIFIC ISLANDS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND COOPERATION FORUM

    SPEECH BY MP PRIME MINISTER, PACIFIC ISLANDS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND COOPERATION FORUM

    SPEECH 

    BY HON. PETER O’NEILL, CMG, MP 

    PRIME MINISTER, PAPUA NEW GUINEA

    ON THE OCCASION OF HIS ATTENDANCE AT THE 2ND CHINA – PACIFIC ISLANDS 

    ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND COOPERATION FORUM

    7 – 8 NOVEMBER 2013, GUANGZHOU, GUANGDONG PROVINCE



    Acknowledgements:


     •His Excellency, Vice Premier, Mr Wang Yang,

     •Colleague Head of States, Pacific island Countries

     •Ladies and Gentlemen


    I wish to thank the Government and the People’s Republic of China for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to me and my delegation since our arrival in this beautiful city, of Guangzhou.


    It is a pleasure to be able to participate with my colleagues for the Pacific Islands in this important dialogue with the Government of the People’s Republic of China.


    Papua New Guinea’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China dates back to our Independence in 1975. We established full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China soon after Independence – and it has grown and diversified ever since.


    I know that has been the experience of other Pacific Island nations as well.


    We welcome China’s interest and involvement in our region, and we especially welcome it in Papua New Guinea.


    We appreciate the generous Grant-In- Aid we receive, and other nations receive, under the Economic Development Co-operation program with our region.


    This generous assistance supports the national development and community development agendas of our countries – and contributes to improving the living standards of our people.


    In the case of Papua New Guinea, our relationship with the People’s Republic of China is much wider than the grant-in-aid program, beneficial though it is.


    We are now receiving concessional loan funding for some of our major development projects, and the expansion of our major economic infrastructure, such as national highways and ports.


    This concessional funding means we are able to do even more in meeting the growing infrastructure demands of a growing population and a growing economy.


    The investment links between our countries have grown significantly in recent years. The best know is the Ramu Nickel Project, in which a major China corporation is the major shareholder and project manager.

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    The People’s Republic of China is also a major and direct participant in our first gas to liquids project, which will begin exporting LNG in the next twelve to fifteen months. The People’s Republic of China will be an initial and significant foundation customer.


    We welcome that investment and participation as a customer.


    I know that a number of companies are currently looking at investing in our future oil and gas development, and our mining and other resource areas. We welcome that interest – and we will assist whenever possible in converting that interest to substantial investment.


    Our resource sector is absolutely critical to our economic security, and enhancing the living standards of our people. 


    China has become a major partner in the development of our major resources – we look forward to it growing and diversifying.


    In turn, we hope we can diversify our exports to China.


    I believe we can be an active partner in meeting not just your energy needs, but you all important food needs in particular.


    It is an opportunity Papua New Guinea is keen to take up.


    I also want to thank the People’s Republic of China for the support it has always given to Papua New Guinea in regional and international forums. That has been genuinely given - and is genuinely appreciated by the people of Papua New Guinea.


    Papua New Guinea has been chosen to host the 2018 APEC Leaders Forum. This is a great privilege – and it is one we will ensure delivers a Forum the APEC Leaders, including your President, will remember very fondly – indeed in the Pacific tradition.


    We will appreciate any support and assistance from the Government of the People’s Republic of China in hosting this APEC Leaders meeting in 2018.


    Indeed, we truly value the support China not only gives us, but also our Pacific Island neighbours. 


    Our bilateral relationship is growing and taking on new dimensions. It is among our most important country to country and people to people relationships we have, and enjoy.


    This dialogue and the growing relationship the People’s Republic of China has with the Pacific Islands region, is wholly beneficial.


    Just as our bi-lateral relationship is.


    I am aware of the People’s Republic of China’s interest in becoming a permanent development Partner with the Pacific Island Forum, and PNG look forward to welcoming China into the Forum. We will work co-operatively to make the partnership as widely beneficial as possible.


    Thank you