UT Report on Chinese-Built Infrastructure in Papua New Guinea

News | September 21, 2023

Student researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, led by ISP Senior Research Program Manager Kim Nguyen, recently published an open-source assessment on the strategic value of Chinese-built infrastructure projects in Papua New Guinea. The report assessed China’s investments in Papua New Guinea, an area of growing strategic competition between China and the West. The report assessed renovations at Momote Airport, which is located in close proximity to a naval base utilized by the U.S. and Australia, by a sanctioned Chinese construction firm. The report also evaluated disproportionate levels of Chinese financial investments and progress at the Ihu Special Economic Zone project, where there are proposals for military and naval bases. The team based their assessments on commercial satellite imagery and open source reporting. Read the full report HERE.

The report was a collaborative effort between UT-Austin’s Global Disinformation Lab and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency as part of the agency’s Tearline initiative. The report was authored by Ms. Nguyen and Varij Shah, a UT-Austin undergraduate student. The research team included Sofia Sandrea, Gunnison Hays, Steven Ahart, Zachary Daum, Suraj Pandit and the Clements Center for National Security military fellow, Cdr. Kevin Barrett.