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This Note examines the current status and recent history of Papua New Guinea, the largest of the recently independent island states of the South Pacific, in the context of the security of the nation and the region. Central to Papua New Guinea's problems are (1) its internal conflict between tribal customs and emergence into the modern world; and (2) relations with its two closest neighbors, Indonesia and Australia. The authors judge that the United States is pursuing the correct policies toward this emerging nation, but they caution that internal conflicts and prickly relations with Indonesia could change suddenly, threaten the security of the area, and possibly involve the United States.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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