The National, Wednesday October 9th, 2013
PAPUA New Guinea has been given the nod to host the next APEC leaders’ summit in 2018.
It means hosting leaders like the presidents of the United States of America, China and Russia in the country.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said in a statement that the decision by the 21 APEC leaders to give the country the honour of hosting the 2018 leaders’ summit was a “tremendous vote of confidence in PNG as an independent nation and as a regional partner gaining greater standing and influence year by year”.
O’Neill said the 2013 APEC leaders’ summit in Bali, Indonesia, endorsed his nomination of PNG to host the summit in 2018.
“As a result, we will be hosting many of the most influential leaders of the international community – including the presidents of the United States, China and Russia, as well as leaders of nations as diverse as Canada, Japan and Indonesia,” he said.
“We will have the privilege of welcoming to Papua New Guinea the leaders of 21 nations drawn from the Asia Pacific region.
“The APEC nations account for close to half the world’s trade and commerce. By hosting the 2018 summit, we will have the unique and historic opportunity to showcase our rich culture, our robust democracy and the tremendous trade and investment opportunities we offer.”
O’Neill said in many ways the summit would mark a “coming of age” for PNG on the international stage, just over 40 years after the nation achieved independence.
“I know the whole nation will welcome this historic vote of confidence,” he said.
“The Government will begin planning for the event without delay and I know that we have the wholehearted support of the nation as we do so.”
O’Neill said PNG benefited in a wide range of ways from being an APEC member. Hosting a leaders’ summit and associated events such as business dialogue would add significantly to the benefits of membership of an influential grouping of regional nations, he added.
“We face a great challenge given the significance of the APEC leaders summits and the international focus they attract. But I have total confidence we will plan, organise, and then host a summit that will showcase our nation in the best possible way,” O’Neill said.