Biak, Papua (ANTARA) - Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) have myriad potential in establishing bilateral relations in the Indo-Pacific region, Head of the Center for Indo-Pacific Studies of Cenderawasih University Melyana R. Pugu stated.

In a written statement received here on Friday, Pugu said that Indonesia and PNG are actively interacting with one another.

He explained that both countries are actively engaging in communication forums in the Pacific, such as the Pacific Islands Forum, Melanesian Spearhead Group, Pacific Island Development Forum, Southwest Pacific Dialogue, and the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States.

He pointed out that the eastern end holds vast potential for bilateral relations, wherein there are similarities between the Melanesian culture and that of people on the Indonesia-PNG border.

"With a relatively shorter distance, the eastern end has the potential to become the center of export-import trade between the two countries,” he affirmed.

In addition, the high number of population in PNG can be a huge potential market for Indonesian products, he stated.

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Melyana explained that on the economic side, PNG has high agricultural potential, such as palm oil, bananas, sweet potatoes, and types of food crops.

In the industrial sector, PNG has oil and gas, and gold, copper, and nickel mining, as well as its main sectors of palm oil and wood processing.

Meanwhile, Indonesia has a large gross domestic product (GDP) and diverse economic sectors, such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and tourism.

According to Melyana, both countries can establish mutually beneficial cooperation with one another.

However, he pointed out that the establishment of Indonesia-PNG bilateral relations faces numerous challenges, such as the new provinces and regulations.

He emphasized the need to take efforts, including maximizing the function of state borders (PLBN) in Skouw and Sota, South Papua.

"As well as increasing public diplomacy on the establishment of the new autonomous regions (DOB) in the land of Papua,” he remarked.

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Translator: Muhsidin, Kenzu T
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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