10 Feb 2004

China and Papua New Guinea sign deals on significant projects

5:14 pm on 10 February 2004

Papua New Guinea and China have signed five bilateral agreements, including a deal by Beijing to fund the development of the Ramu nickel project.

The National newspaper reports that the prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, met with the Chinese premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing for an hour long discussion which ended with the signing of the 625 million U.S. dollar nickel project.

Other agreements covered economic and technical co-operation, investigation of the potential to develop fishponds, co-operation in education and further assistance for agricultural development.

The visit by an 80-strong PNG government and business delegation is being heralded as a new chapter in bilateral relations.

It is also understood that China has agreed to provide grant aid totalling 3.7 million U.S. dollars.

Sir Michael will also present a keynote address at a day-long PNG business seminar where major Chinese corporations will be briefed on business opportunities in mining, petroleum, forestry and fisheries.

PNG officials say they would like to see China participate in downstream aspects of oil and gas development as well as in the processing of forest products and fisheries.