Australia to help Papua New Guinea develop navy base, train police

Australia will help Papua New Guinea develop a navy base and train police, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday. The move is seen as the latest Australian action to protect its interests in the Pacific. Australia has for decades enjoyed largely unrivalled influence in the Pacific but China has in recent years turned its attention to the region, Reuters said. Papua New Guinea (PNG) said this year China was interested in funding the re-development of a navy base on Manus Island, an offer that diplomatic sources said worried Australia and its Western allies. Morrison said in a speech, in Sydney, that Australia would fund the project. “I will formally commit to a joint initiative to develop the base on Manus Island,” Morrison said. PNG’s navy is made up largely of patrol boats, mostly donated by Australia, and landing craft. Australia has in the past used its aid budget to fund similar security projects in the region.