The Papua New Guinea Government should reconsider and review the United States-PNG Defence Corporation Agreement, by aligning itself with the U.S and Australia, it has indicated its security and military alliance, says former PNG Defence Force commander Jerry Singirok.
Singirok said by the signing of the agreement, “Papua New Guinea, as a sovereign state, was no longer neutral.”
“An act of skillful balance in its bilateral relations with China may cause discomfort as China is equally a friend to PNG, continues to invest and trade with and happens to be the second largest trading partner with it,” he said.
“There are clearly many serious discrepancies and constitutional breaches already detected in the agreement and will require an urgent review if this generation of leaders can put their children, their grandchildren and the people first while setting an unimpeded foundation for the next generation as national interest far outweighs all other considerations and interest.”
Singirok also said there was a serious compromise in the country’s Constitution in which the Government was cohered into allowing a major naval base to be built in Manus by the U.S and Australia through soft-approach diplomacy.
He said without Parliament to ratify their military presence and without any security treaty bilaterally or multilaterally, created a serious compromise to PNG’s Constitution.
“The presence of U.S and Australia, who are now using Defence Corporate Act as the instrument to legitimise their presence in Manus and operate unhindered should be tested in a competent jurisdiction as the Constitution’s National Goal and Principles number three, (8) and Section 206 (3) are to the contrary,” he said.
He said the Defence Cooperation Agreement is not a security treaty.
Singirok questioned what measures would be undertaken by the United States in the event that PNG was threatened militarily.
“By aligning itself with United States and Australia, PNG has already indicated its security and military alliance, therefore, by association PNG as a sovereign state is no longer neutral,” he said.
“The Anzus Treaty was signed between Australia, U.S and New Zealand in 1952 which stipulates that if any of the three countries are threatened then all three would respond to the threats.
However, Papua New Guinea is no longer a territory of Australia since 1975.
“The operation of Anzus Treaty is not applicable to PNG,” Singirok said.
“Even to this date, on record there are no bilateral or multilateral security treaties with any of the Anzus countries with Papua New Guinea.”
Singirok said the agreement guaranteed U.S access to PNG entry and exit points like Jackson, Nadzab and Momote airports, Lae Tidal Basin and Lombrum Naval base.
The agreement, signed last month, will see an increase in U.S military presence in the country, and will give them immunity to the country’s laws.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS