Papua New Guinea PM test positive for COVID-19 during a trip to the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape tested positive for COVID-19 when he arrived in Beijing on February 3 for the opening of the Winter Olympics.

His office announced on February 6 that the Prime Minister would not travel to France the following week for the Indo-Pacific Summit. There he was to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron.

“Prime Minister Marape returned a positive test when he arrived in Beijing last Thursday night, and due to COVID-19 restrictions, he will cancel the French section of the trip,” Reuters said.

Malape’s short visit to China coincided with the signing of several contracts with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, whom he virtually met on February 5.

Epoch Times Photo
Prime Minister James Marape (C) of Papua New Guinea will arrive at the home of Governor Bob Dade of Port Moresby on May 30, 2019. (GorethyKenneth / AFP / Getty Images)

The two leaders have signed a series of agreements and memorandums on exports, free trade, medicines and infrastructure loans (Belt and Road Initiative).

“These deliverables present market opportunities, growth in economic cooperation, future opportunities in trade, and some very specific projects,” said the Prime Minister’s Office. Written on Facebook..

“The future outcome of the free trade agreement between China and Papua New Guinea (PNG) is important. This is the first time from a country-to-country perspective.”

In a joint statement released to China’s state media, Xinhua, PNG leaders further reaffirmed their firm commitment to one China policy, “related to Taiwan, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Hong Kong and Tibet. We will consider the issue as China’s internal affairs. ” -interference.

PNG is actively working with leading Chinese companies to invest in local industries such as forestry, coffee, fisheries, rice cultivation, livestock and oil and gas sectors.

The cozy relationship between Malape and Beijing further heightened concerns that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is gaining influence in the region, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Australia, Fiji and Hawaii next week for security. It spurred discussions on security. Problems and quads.

US Democratic allies have been involved in a regional geopolitical tug of war for Beijing, which has seen an increase in funding and aid aid directed to the region to consolidate the alliance.

For example, on December 12, Australia, Japan and the United States are working on the construction of a high-speed submarine cable connecting Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia. About 100,000 people are expected to benefit.

In late October, the Australian government and Telstra, a major telecommunications company, triggered the acquisition of mobile business Digicel for A $ 2.1 billion (US $ 1.6 billion) before Chinese-related entities intervened. ..

Digicel Pacific is the leading airline in Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tonga and Fiji.

Daniel Y. Ten


Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national politics, including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and relations between Australia and China. Contact him at [email protected]