Papua New Guinea’s Covid-19 crisis has become a political power play between China and Australia
Canberra has hit back at Beijing’s claims it is derailing the rollout of Chinese vaccines in Papua New Guinea (PNG), the most-populous Pacific nation. “We support Papua New Guinea making sovereign decisions,” Australia’s minister for the Pacific, Zed Seselja, said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.
The islands’ location between US and Asia makes them key military staging grounds and the potential site of future defense installations for either Australia or China.
Australia has longstanding economic and cultural ties with the Pacific, and it is crucial to the country’s national security to ensure the Chinese government doesn’t gain a large foothold in the region.