Australia has dramatically overreacted to speculative announcements of possible Chinese-funded development on the Papua New Guinea island of Daru, just north of Australia’s border in the Torres Strait, a former adviser to the PNG government has said.
“I think the Chinese just wanted to ruffle a few feathers on the Australian side,” Martyn Awayang Namorong said of the leaked letter describing plans to build a $39bn city on Daru, and last November’s memorandum of understanding signing to establish a “comprehensive multifunctional fishery industrial park” on the island.
“It’s important to note that PNG is heading to an election next year so we have to ask ourselves are these announcements being made to influence voters? It might not be intended for Australia – and Beijing is just laughing at Australia overreacting. It might be only for the local audience … we have to ask these questions as well as the geopolitical questions.”