22 Sep 2003

PNG to host visit by Malaysian PM

7:29 pm on 22 September 2003

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare will host a visit by his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohammed late next month.

Sir Michael, who will rush back from his APEC engagements in Bangkok to receive the visit the Malaysian delegation, has been actively talking to representatives of neighbouring countries with a view to developing strategic economic partnerships.

He says that as he approaches the end of his political career, he wants to use the remaining time to transform PNG from a country dependent on aid into a country whose economy reflects its abundant resources.

Sir Michael says Prime Minister Mahatir is credited with having successfully gotten Malaysia out of the 1998 Asian financial crisis, which PNG could learn a lot from.

Sir Michael has so far had discussions with Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, China and the Philippines.

Other countries whose corporate citizens have approached the government with specific proposals include Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Sir Michael says that with his government's intentions to refine PNG's relationship with Australia, it's important to open up and pursue opportunities to the north.