WELLINGTON, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand is deploying defense force assets to Papua New Guinea to assist with security at the APEC Leaders' Week this month, a government statement said on Tuesday.
New Zealand is sending the Offshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS Otago with about 75 crew to assist with maritime security, a P-3 Orion detachment with 20 personnel to provide aerial surveillance, and up to 30 Special Operation Forces personnel to provide support to Papua New Guinea security forces on the ground in Port Moresby.
"Ensuring the security of an APEC meeting is vital. The government welcomes working alongside Papua New Guinea to help run a successful event which is immensely significant to the region," said Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters.
New Zealand is also providing assistance for diplomatic training and other areas requested by Papua New Guinea like ambulance operations. New Zealand has also been working alongside the Australian government in coordinating the capacity assistance, Peters said.
Defense Minister Ron Mark said the latest support comes at the request of the Papua New Guinea government and continues a longstanding and close relationship between the respective armed forces.
The New Zealand Defense Force has provided training and capacity building support to Papua New Guinea for many years, including planning and training support in the lead up to APEC 2018, Mark said.
The defense assets will be deployed for the duration of APEC Leaders' Week which runs from Nov. 12 to 18, he said.