November 18, 2018 / 12:40 AM / a month ago

U.S. allies to develop electricity network for Papua New Guinea

PORT MORESBY, Nov 18 (Reuters) - The United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan on Sunday said they would work together to ensure most of Papua New Guinea had access to electricity by 2030 as Western allies respond to China’s growing presence in the Pacific.

“This high level partnership forms part of the enduring economic and security partnership between our countries,” the Australian and PNG governments said in a joint statement, saying they would create projects to boost electricity access to 70 percent of the population from 13 percent currently.

Leaders of the four nations met in PNG’s capital, Port Moresby, at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation Summit to unveil the initiative. The move comes amid growing Western concerns about China’s increasing influence in the region through its Belt and Road initiative. (Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield and Tom Westbrook in PORT MORESBY; Writing by Jonathan Barrett; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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