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In Papua New Guinea, Reality Will Dim Any Nationalist Dreams

Sep 6, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister James Marape (left) shakes hands with Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison as their wives look on in Canberra during July.
Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister James Marape (left) shakes hands with Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison as their wives look on in Canberra during July.
(MICK TSIKAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Papua New Guinea's new prime minister, James Marape, is touting a more nationalist push on resources for his energy- and mineral-rich country and hinting at a rebalance in great power relations, vexing both foreign companies and regional heavyweight Australia. Since taking office in late May, Marape has launched a formal review into a multibillion dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, threatened to seek Chinese help in refinancing the country's $7.9 billion debt and mulled an overhaul of the country's natural resource laws to increase Papua New Guinea's share of revenue. But despite his ambitious intentions, the eager new leader will find it difficult to take any of these efforts too far, because there's only so much the small resource- and aid-dependent Pacific country can push the envelope without jeopardizing its political stability and primary income streams....

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