Bougainville: Southeast Asia's newest neighboring country in 2027
A new nation will soon be nearby. Bougainville, which supported independence from Papua New Guinea in a 2019 referendum, is the potential new state.
The disengagement process for Bougainville will start in 2023, and it is anticipated that by 2027 it will be a completely independent state.
A staggering 98 percent of people voted in favor of the island's secession from Papua New Guinea back in 2019. However, that vote had no legal force, and the country has a long way to go before becoming a full-fledged state.
The referendum is not legally binding, thus Papua New Guinean and Bougainvillean authorities will need to negotiate independence. The Papua New Guinea Parliament would then have the last say. Years may pass before the process of creating an independent nation is completed.
Prime Minister James Marape of Papua New Guinea was reportedly out of town and unavailable for comment, according to his office. In the two weeks of voting, more than 181,000 ballots were cast by about 85% of eligible voters.
The people of Bougainville, which is around 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) west of Port Moresby, are not Papuans in terms of culture.
German New Guinea included Bougainville from the 1880s to World War I. Australia took control of the island after the war, and it joined Papua New Guinea in 1975.
Locals and foreign observers are enthusiastic about Bougainville's bright future as a result of the referendum's outcome because the island has a wealth of natural riches and tourism potential. The rivers, volcanoes, and 685 kilometers of shoreline are pure, and the forests are unaltered.
In fact, travellers are urged to make very careful planning if they want to travel to Bougainville because it is thought to be an alternative to Bali and Fiji for ecological tourism.
According to Dr. Thiago Cintra-Oppermann, a Bougainville specialist from the Australian National University, "tour operators are restricted in Bougainville, largely World War II veterans and their relatives." He was quoted by the Daily Mail on Thursday, November 25, 2021.
Bougainville is a very lovely island, he added, "with amazing and varied scenery and pleasant people, but the infrastructure is still extremely limited compared to Fiji and Bali.
The World War II battlefields and historical tours are among the top tourist attractions. Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto perished in a plane crash in the Bougainville rainforest during World War II, a time when more than 60,000 Americans were stationed there.
Source: Daily Mail, IndonesiaExpat.id, TheDiplomat.com, Reuters