Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his entourage arrived in Papua New Guinea to a red carpet welcome and 21-gun salute by the PNG Defence Force, at Port Moresby’s Jacksons International airport Wednesday.

Widodo flew in from Sydney on his Presidential plane, after completing his State visit in Australia.

The President was met at the airport by Prime Minister, James Marape, sidelined Foreign Affairs Minister, Justin Tkatchenko, NCD Governor, Powes Parkop and other ministers, Foreign Affairs Secretary, Elias Wohengu and PNG Defence Force Commander, Major-General, Mark Goina.

From the airport, President Widodo paid a courtesy visit to the Governor-General, Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae, before heading to the APEC Haus, for bilateral talks with Prime Minister Marape.

Discussions include Indonesia-PNG Border Agreement, Trade and Investment, Business-to-Business as well as People-to-People connection.

A resource-rich but largely undeveloped nation of nine million, PNG shares a 760-km (472-mile) border with Indonesia. Diplomatic relations have been complicated by the separatist ambitions of Melanesian groups on the Indonesian side of Papua, which was absorbed by Indonesia after a 1969 vote.

A basic border agreement with Indonesia, which had been stalled for 10 years by PNG’s parliament, was ratified in March.

Marape said Widodo’s visit had boosted business opportunities between the two nations.

Outcomes included agreements on customs and combating trans-national crime, and a new review of border arrangements to strengthen economic and trade, he told reporters.

Indonesia has agreed to sponsor 2,000 PNG students to attend university in Indonesia, and pledged 55 million kina (US$15 million) to upgrade Port Moresby’s hospital, he said.

Areas that need further progress include the ratification of a Defence Cooperation Agreement with Indonesia at parliament’s next sitting, and a preferential trade agreement, Marape said in a statement.

“PNG and Indonesia are both economic giants. PNG in the Pacific and Indonesia in Southeast Asia. You can imagine if the two potentials merged, it would surely bring tremendous impact, not just for the people of both nations, but also the region,” Widodo told reporters.

President Widodo’s trip to PNG follows Prime Minister Marape’s visit to Indonesia last year, further solidifying the strong relationship between both nations.