We reaffirm our commitment to further enhance strategic cooperation between Papua New Guinea and Australia through the development of a Bilateral Security Treaty (BST), pursuant to the 2020 Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership (CSEP).
As near neighbours, close friends and equal partners, Papua New Guinea's and Australia's defence and security is deeply connected. We share a mutual strategic interest in a safe, stable, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific. We have a proud history of working together in the interests of the region.
We see the BST as a natural progression in our security partnership, reflecting our longstanding cooperation, shared history, geographical proximity, common regional strategic outlook, and close people-to-people links.
This BST will further enhance our security partnership by providing a legally binding framework for security cooperation across our many areas of mutual interest and contribute to bilateral and regional security, trust, and stability.
The BST will provide an enabling framework for our current and future traditional and non-traditional security cooperation. The BST would facilitate the practical broadening and deepening of our security cooperation while sitting above existing arrangements, programs, and activities.
The BST will, subject to negotiations and agreement by both countries:
- Reinforce our mutual respect and enable both countries to protect and enhance their independence, sovereignty and resilience;
- Strengthen our position as vital security partners and assist both countries to protect and enhance our sovereignty and resilience;
- Build on the strong platform of our existing bilateral agreements and understandings;
- Solidify Pacific regional agreements and understandings, including the PIF Leaders' consensus on the concept of regionalism and a Forum family first approach to peace and security;
- Reflect the evolving nature of our shared security interests, recognising that non-traditional security challenges, such as climate change, cyber security, and economic elements of statecraft, affect our strategic environment;
- Recognise that because our security interests are intertwined, including by virtue of our geography, decisions taken by one country affect the security of the other;
- Commit to deeper and more regular information sharing and exchanges on security and strategic challenges;
- Enhance the scope and depth of our ongoing practical cooperation and facilitate joint security operations and activities and greater interoperability;
- Capture the breadth of our security cooperation while providing a mandate for future work in areas of shared interest;
- Be public and transparent, consistent with each other's treaty practices and national laws; and
- Remain a contemporary reflection of our shared interests, including through regular consultations on its implementation.
We commit to maintaining political-level engagement and oversight to facilitate progress on the BST in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.
We entrust our respective Foreign Ministers to take forward the BST and commit to concluding substantive negotiations for the BST by 30 April 2023.