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APEC Summit in POM is Not Just About Papua New Guinea and Peter O’Neill

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APEC Summit in POM has ended, but if left some important benefits for us South Pacific  Islanders

Many of us in Melanesia are thinking that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit held in Port Moresby last weekend was a success story for Papua New Guinea and for Peter O’Neill Government, including the National Capital District (NCD) Governor Powes Parkop/ Many noises raised on the way it was organised, and the government spending towards the event.

The event ended with so many signing of documents between Papua New Guinea and other major players in the world, notably China and the USA.

The story does not stop there.

No, the story does not stop at the signing of documents and farewell ceremonies inside the Independent State of Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby. It has a very wide-spread and long-term consequences for all of us Melanesians, and even Micronesian and Polynesian peoples and countries.

For one, the Chinese President and the US Vice President have very personal experience on our Melanesian life and culture. The Chinese President said it by himself,  this is a memorable visit. We need to look from humanitarian perspectives. These leaders of big countries do not have access to real-world and real-natural environments and real living spirits as we have in Melanesia. As human beings they will never forget the memory of coming to New Guinea in this life-time that they have in this physical body. We Melanesians never realised what we actually have and what foreigners’ actually get when they come to our countries.

Yes, of course, they come to us with a mission, based on their own agenda, but we also have something we have here in Melanesia, something alive, something powerful, something that we cannot and will never explain with our limited words. We have all the energies and fragrances of the “tumbuna bong yumi” with us, very closely and very mixed in our lives.

When they come “as human beings”, they come back to their own history, their own life-time, their own sense as human beings. Jared Diamond, a bird-watcher in New Guinea for tens of years and then biological historian, famous for his books on New Guinea, the “rewind their own video-tapes and witness their own history in New Guinea”. This is what he said in his book, “The World until Yesterday: What we can learn from traditional societis?

A second story is that “Yes, they can do business and they can make deals with Melanesians”. In other words, they do not need neighboring and occupying governments such as Australia and Indonesia in order to make deals with New Guineans in particular and with Melanesians in General. In fact the Prime Minister of Vanuatu also signed 7 Memorandum of Understandings (MOU) with the Chinese President Xi Jinping some days before the APEC Summit. The Chinese President in fact visited Vanuatu and other Melanesian countries on the way to Port Moresby.

The signing of more MoUs will soon happen between other leaders in Melanesia, including West Papuan leaders with Chinese governments as it is a public secret that “only western powers” that wants West Papua become part of Indonesia.

The People’s Republic of China has massive infrastructure projects launched across the globe, not only in Melanesia. No one really knows what China wants out of this, other than economic interest. One thing that we Melanesians should be sure, is that the Chinese will never come and kill us off, then take over our mother-land, and then set up their own modern nation-states as Europeans have done in the Americas, Australia, Asia, New Zealand and Africa. The Chinese already have their big country. They do not need more land area. They will not wipe out all New Guineans as Indonesians are doing on the western part of the Island. By the way, the Indonesian President Joko Widodo also have massive boost in infrastructure projects all over Indonesia. Including in West Papua, the highway connecting Port Numbay (Indonesia calls in Jayapura) and Wamena, in the central highlands already completed just recently.

The story will still continue….

Following up the above two stories, we also need to look ahead, in the context of South Pacific, Asia Pacific and Melanesia. Yesterday there was riot in the Parliament House in Port Moresby.. Those who worked during the APEC Summit were not paid. This is very logic. Melanesians are not used to getting paid some days later. We work today, and we are thanked, greeted, or fed on this very day. That is very simple. Make it simple, and all will be OK in New Guinea. We are not born into bureaucratic brain and blood. We are simple, natural, basic human beings. Peter O’Neill and Powes Parkop both know this well.

It is normal even at village level in New Guinea, a big event like this will have side-effects, internally, and we should know that this is normal for us Melanesians.

Others in the world have criticized the Prime Minister for purchasing very expensive cars for the event. And these cars will be soon on sale in PNG. Not only cars, many venues and vehicles will be allocated for further use. This is also a normal practice even at village level.

There is a saying in Malay-Indonesian language, “Tak kenal maka tak sayang!”, which means, “You love after you know”, or literally means, “If you do not know then you don’t love”. This applies to the APEC Summit in Port Moresby. APEC leaders know who we are, how we treat our guests, what our culture is, and from there, they already have clues on how they can make deals with us, of course in this case, without intermediary.

Where will the story end?

They story will continues to the point where Papua New Guinea becomes the leading and most powerful country in the South Pacific, in Melanesia, and in the world.

Papua New Guinea can do this primarily with the support from China. Full stop. No more colonialists.

Secondly, Papua New Guinea will do it after freeing all colonized Melanesians across the South Pacific region. Speaking against colonialism in the South Pacific will have benefits on the PNG’s role and power across the South Pacific.

PNG does not need Australia, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, but her own Melanesian countries. PNG must trust Fiji, West Papua, Vanuatu, Kanaky and Solomon Islands as fellow friends that will let PNG to lead them, in this global arena. We do not need Indonesia to become a game-changer in the South Pacific. Indonesia will need us. We do not need Australia either. We are already enough in ourselves. We trust ourselves and engage with the world.

Peter O’Neill is the “Master of the Politics of Engagement” in Melanesia and even in the world today. Let him do his best. Let him lead our country until it reaches its maximum fulfillment as a country and as a people.

Yes, this very story will always continue, there is no end to it, as we have just started a new history in New Guinea and in Melanesia. This history will be told in generations to come, and will never end.

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