Australia announced in January 2022 that it would provide U.S. $420 million to Pacific neighbor Papua New Guinea to upgrade key ports, amid concern in Washington and Canberra that Beijing’s infrastructure investment in the Pacific islands has a military ambition.
Australia’s funding will help the Papua New Guinea Ports Corp. increase capacity to accommodate larger ships, including container ships on major trade routes, which will improve trade connectivity, then-Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said in a statement.
The funding will also go toward urgent repairs on coastal wharves that are up to 70 years old. (Pictured: A container ship docks at a port town in Papua New Guinea.)
A Chinese-funded wharf built on another Pacific island, Vanuatu, sparked Australian media reports in 2018 — denied by Vanuatu and Beijing — that the Chinese Communist Party wants to use the facility for military ships. Reuters