Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea – The long-awaited meeting between the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo (Jokowi), and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape, finally took place at APEC Haus on Wednesday (5/7). This meeting was a historic moment that resulted in important agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
At the meeting, President Jokowi reaffirmed Indonesia’s commitment to strengthen relations with countries in the Pacific region, including Papua New Guinea. One concrete step taken was the formulation of a roadmap for development cooperation for the next five years.
“Indonesia will also soon start the renovation of Port Moresby Hospital, build a fire station, manage waste in Vanimo, construct schools in Wutung, and increase scholarships for Papua New Guinean students,” said President Jokowi in a press conference following the meeting.
Furthermore, the two leaders also discussed the enhancement of economic cooperation between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. President Jokowi mentioned that trade between the two countries in 2022 significantly increased to USD 307 million.
“This needs to be further improved by encouraging the continuation of discussions on the PTA (preferential trade agreement), the establishment of a Business Council, trade and investment missions, and the participation of Indonesian state-owned enterprises (BUMN) on road construction in Papua New Guinea,” the President stated.
In terms of connectivity and borders, President Jokowi welcomed the new policies and the opening of activities at the border between the two countries. Some of these include the opening of the PNG Express shipping route, the Denpasar-Port Moresby flight route, the ratification of the Basic Agreement on Border Arrangement, and the reopening of the Skouw-Wutung border post.
Moreover, President Jokowi and PM Marape also discussed cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. President Jokowi emphasised the commitment to enhance Indonesia’s and ASEAN’s engagement with Pacific countries.
This historic meeting between President Jokowi and PM Marape marks a concrete step in strengthening bilateral relations and cooperation in various sectors between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It is hoped that these agreements will have a tangible positive impact on both countries and their people.
By Nadeem Faisal Baiga