Interview: PNG ready to host a successful APEC summit, says APEC minister

Source: Xinhua| 2018-04-03 00:08:03|Editor: Chengcheng
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Papua New Guinea (PNG)'s APEC Minister Justin Tkatchenko speaks during an exclusive interview with Xinhua in Moresby, Papua New Guinea, April 1, 2018. "Papua New Guinea is poised to hold a safe, peaceful and successful APEC conference in November this year," PNG APEC Minister Justin Tkatchenko told Xinhua in an recent exclusive interview. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

by Yang Jingzhong, Song Dan

MORESBY, Papua New Guinea, April 2 (Xinhua) -- "Papua New Guinea (PNG) is poised to hold a safe, peaceful and successful APEC conference in November this year," PNG APEC Minister Justin Tkatchenko told Xinhua in an recent exclusive interview.

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit will be held in Papua New Guinea in November 2018. After years of preparation, PNG is well ready to welcome all APEC leaders in November with open arms and warm hospitality, said Tkatchenko on Sunday.

APEC is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. The 2018 summit will be the first hosted by PNG, and will be attended by 21 leaders from the world's leading economies.

Tkatchenko said that the APEC conference is a stepping stone for Papua New Guinea, as a big event will set Papua New Guinea in a new direction and into the future economically, socially and in many other areas as well.

"So we have to get it right, because it is the first time that it's happening in the Pacific, and we are basically representing all our neighbors hosting here in Port Moresby (capital city) in Papua New Guinea," Tkatchenko said.

"We have to make sure we get the security right, logistics, infrastructure, everything that all the world leaders will be comfortable with, and everything will go fine."

Security has always been a big issue. According to Tkatchenko, for the last three years, PNG has been working on this with other countries, but especially with Australia, its closest neighbor. Australia will provide air, sea and land defense with PNG troops.

"It is a massive thing and we are set, ready to go. I would say we are 95 percent there in ensuring that everything is covered to what all world leaders and all countries want," Tkatchenko said.

For logistics, the Chinese government has donated and given PNG 70 buses to support transportation to world leaders, the minister said.

When it comes to infrastructure, Tkatchenko said most of the projects are already four or five weeks ahead of schedule. Leaders' Conference Centre in Papua New Guinea, the APEC Haus is built and a new Hilton hotel will have its door open on the 2nd week of September this year.

The National Convention Center, which was built by the Chinese government, is undergoing the major renovation to change the fit-out and to suit APEC requirements. It is expected to be finished in the next two weeks. The National Convention Center will be hosting a number of APEC meetings.

Besides the newly built Hilton hotel, PNG has already engaged three cruise ships to provide additional accommodation.

In addition, the Games Village, which was built for the Pacific Games by China Railway Engineering Corporation, can accommodate 3000 people.

"It's easier to get a floating hotel rather than building one, and it would save us a lot of money as well," Tkatchenko said.

For thousands of journalists, a sports stadium will be specially set up as the international media center. The PNG government is also working with big telecommunication service providers to ensure the internet connection is available.

Now the only thing worries Tkatchenko is to make sure that everything is coordinated properly, and luckily PNG has a good record on this.

PNG hosted the 2015 Pacific Games successfully, and then the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup and the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

"The world will be watching Port Moresby, we have to get it right, we have to make sure everybody is happy and we have to use that advantage and opportunity to promote our country to the rest of the world," said the minister.