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Australia and PNG progress security treaty

By AAP Newswire

Australia and Papua New Guinea have agreed to strengthen trade and security ties as the region deals with China's growing presence and the fallout from coronavirus.

Scott Morrison and James Marape signed a series of agreements at a virtual meeting on Wednesday and signalled an intention to negotiate an Australia-PNG security treaty.

The leaders also signed a "comprehensive strategic and economic partnership" with a broad range of aims.

They committed to building the Markham Valley Solar Project - one of the largest solar plants in the region - with funding from the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific.

Australian medical and crisis response experts have this week been deployed to PNG to help with the coronavirus response.

The team will provide on-the-ground assessment and support with case management, infection control, triage and emergency management.

They will also help with laboratory practices and public health issues.

The leaders agreed to improve the training sector in PNG and grow the number of skilled workers, with Australia contributing $45 million over six years.