Somare Invited to Visit China – Again
Well – it seems that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is making a habit of inviting the Grand Chief to visit mainland China. Hot straight off the press is the announcement by Chinese Foreign spokeswoman Jiang Yu that Sir Michael Somare will be officially traveling to China from April 14 to 19 – next week Tuesday. Whatever happened to informing your people – or is reading the news on a website controlled by a socialist republic the norm now?
From my count, this is the third time that Sir Michael has visited greater China – his first visit also being the first official visit by any Papua New Guinea to the country. And who could have forgotten Sir Michael’s second visit to China? In 2004, again at the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabo, Sir Michael brought with him an entourage of more than 80 delegates – 42 of which were government officials. Granted of course, the business of the day was the negotiation of the US$1.4 billion Ramu nickle/cobalt mine which will employ 4000 people.
Which makes you think – what’s going to be on the agenda behind closed doors in Beijing this time? A foothold in the PNG LNG project or maybe an investment stake into InterOil’s Antelope discovery – the largest hydrocarbon column head in any single on-shore field of its type in the world and more than enough to ensure that China’s LNG supply is secured for at least a decade.
Whatever Premier Wen Jiabo and PM Sir Michael Somare do talk about – it’s going to be interesting.