USS Green Bay arrives in Papua New Guinea to provide security for APEC summit
By CAITLIN DOORNBOS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 13, 2018
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The USS Green Bay pulled into Papua New Guinea’s capital city Tuesday ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference that will gather world leaders for trade discussions Saturday and Sunday.
The Sasebo, Japan-based amphibious transport dock ship is providing “security and support” for the summit after Adm. Phil Davidson, who leads Indo-Pacific Command, announced over the summer the United States’ agreement to handle protection for the event.
Davidson said in August that the Navy would take care of in-shore security during APEC Leaders’ Week.” The USS Green Bay crew is also “expected to fly UH-1Y Huey helicopters in the area over the next few days as part of their preparation to support APEC,” a Navy statement said.
Leaders from 21 Pacific Rim countries — including Vice President Mike Pence, Chinese president Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — are to discuss international relations and economic interdependence.
President Donald Trump was originally scheduled to attend APEC. The White House did not say why Pence was sent in his place; however, Trump was recently in France marking of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
Papua New Guinea has a high crime rate, and the State Department has listed Port Moresby – the capital and largest city – as a “critical-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests,” according to the State Department’s website.
“The rate of crime in Papua New Guinea is among the highest in the world,” the website said. “Crime rates are highest in and around major cities — Port Moresby, Lae, Madang, Mount Hagen, and Goroka — but crimes can and do occur anywhere.”
However, the State Department assessed Port Moresby as a low-threat location for terrorist activity directed at U.S. interests.
This is the second time in a little more than a month that a U.S. ship has visited Papua New Guinea. The USS Michael Murphy visited last month when the Navy and Papua New Guinea Self Defense Force met aboard the ship to sign an agreement “to advance and finalize negotiations on three important bilateral agreements that will further deepen security cooperation and links” between the countries, the Navy said at the time.