Special Forces troops have privately been stationed to help Papua New Guinea as an important part of an immense Australian armed forces along with policing work to protect Port Moresby in advance of November’s APEC conference of world leaders.
Senior Defense sources have verified top notch Australian Army team members tend to be “on the ground”, amid worries the impoverished nation’s armed forces isn’t properly loaded to manage the massive occasion.
World leaders including US Second in Command Mike Pence, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison are all expected to attend the two-day summit.
“We have Australian Army and Australian Special Forces assisting the PNGDF (Papua New Guinea Defense Force), making sure the counter-terrorism provision of services is first class, ” a senior member of the Special Forces Command said.
“We’re standing ready to help PNGDF to secure the APEC meeting and help PNG showcase the country to the world,” he added.
The ABC understands Royal Australian Navy warships will be also located off the PNG coast as an ingredient of Operation APEC Assist to protect cruise ships that be used for temporary APEC lodging.
Maritime security is really a major focus for APEC security preparations, with Papua New Guinea’s maritime policing capabilities considered being very limited.
It is feared cruise ships may be particularly vulnerable to terrorist strikes and often will need the protection of Special Forces soldiers, who are highly skilled at boarding vessels at sea.
Defense has declined to publicly look into the deployment in the secretive SAS and Commando units but notes “Operation APEC Assist” has been “at the request of the Papua New Guinea government”.
“As part of the Australian whole of government effort, the Australian Defense Force is providing advisory help to the PNG Joint Security Task Force, which been recently established present a safe and secure APEC, ” the Defense Department said in a statement.
Australian taxpayers are expected to pay an immense portion with the costs of PNG’s ambitious plan to host APEC, partly to stave off rising Chinese influence within the nearby foule.
Details on the total costs of Australia’s security operations are not known, but Defense says it has “leveraged extreme part from the $40 million annual Defense Cooperation Program in recent years, to help the PNG Defense Force’s major event security capability”.
“The final Defense contribution to Operation APEC Assist 18 is contingent weren’t factors, including future requests from federal government of PNG, ” the Department said.