JAPAN URGES PNG TO IMPROVE INTERNAL SECURITY

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Japan companies want to protect liquefied gas investment

By Peter Korugl PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 2, 2011) - Japan has urged Papua New Guinea (PNG) to improve its internal security to facilitate the smooth implementation of the first liquefied natural gas project in Southern Highlands.

Japan’s Foreign Minister, Takeaki Matsumoto informed his PNG counterpart Don Polye that this must be done because Japanese companies are participating in the project as well as in the second Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project operated by InterOil Corporation.

A brief from the Japan Embassy in Port Moresby highlighted that Mr. Matsumoto put the request to Mr. Polye when the two ministers met last Tuesday in Tokyo before the signing of the investment agreement for the protection and promotion of Japanese investments in PNG.

The request from Japan comes at a time when landowners at oil rich Gobe are planning to disrupt the oil flow over outstanding Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) funds. And this is not the first time PNG, the investors and the world has learnt of threats from the landowners in Southern Highlands.

In recent months, killings and attacks have been reported in Southern Highlands, raising security concerns about the developers and the contractors as well as the Government.

The Government has stationed police units in the oil and gas rich region.

It is in Japan’s interest for the two LNG projects to get off the ground successfully as it looks for cleaner sources of energy after the recent tsunami and earthquakes created nuclear disasters in the country.

In their meeting, Mr. Matsumoto expressed his expectation that PNG would become a stable supplier of LNG for Japan.

In response, Mr. Polye said PNG would support the smooth implementation of the Liquefied Natural Gas project and commit the PNG Government to make every effort to ensure the safety of Japanese people, including Japanese travelers and investors.

Mr. Polye said Papua New Guinea would like to deepen its bilateral ties with Japan in areas other than natural resources and energy.

Both ministers emphasized the importance of human resource development, after Mr. Polye expressed his appreciation for Japan’s economic assistance to date, adding that PNG would like to bolster its co-operation in the area of human resource development.

Mr. Matsumoto expressed his gratitude for the assistance from the country in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami.

He said he was pleased to sign the investment agreement between Japan and PNG as it would promote further development of economic relations between the two countries.

Mr. Polye said the agreement was a culmination of their negotiation efforts, and it would contribute to broaden bilateral economic relations.

Mr. Matsumoto explained the measures taken to control the situation at the Fuksuhima Daiichi nuclear power station, adding Japan would continue to make efforts to bring the situation under control with maximum transparency.

Both ministers exchanged views on co-operation in international flora, including the issues of climate change and United Security Council reform. The meeting ended with both ministers agreeing to strengthen their joint efforts to cope with various issues.

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