Indonesia–Papua New Guinea border

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Indonesia–Papua New Guinea border
Map of the Indonesia–Papua New Guinea border
Entities Indonesia
 Papua New Guinea
Length824 km (512 mi)

The Indonesia–Papua New Guinea border is the international border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The border, which divides the island of New Guinea in half, consists of two straight north–south lines connected by a short section running along the Fly river, totalling 824 km (512 mi).[1] The boundary separates Papua, Highland Papua, and South Papua provinces of Indonesia from Sandaun and Western provinces of Papua New Guinea.


The border starts in the north at northern coast of New Guinea, immediately west of the Papuan village of Wutung and Mount Bougainville.[2] It then proceeds in a straight vertical line to the south along the 141st meridian east, cutting across the Oenake Range, the Kohari Hills, the Bewani Mountains, the Border Mountains and the Central Highlands. Upon reaching the Fly River it then follows this in a C-shaped curve, before continuing in a N-S line at 141º 01'10" meridian east, cutting across the Kai Lagoon, down to the estuary of the Bensbach River with the Torres Strait on the southern coast of New Guinea.


The colonial partition of New Guinea from 1884 to 1919

The Netherlands began colonising the area of modern Indonesia (then called the Dutch East Indies) in the 17th century, and extended their rule eastwards. In 1828 they claimed the north-west coast of New Guinea as far as the 140th meridian east in 1828, as part of the traditional lands of the Sultan of Tidore.[2] In 1884 the north-eastern quarter of New Guinea was claimed by Germany and the south-eastern quarter by Britain, with the two agreeing a border between their respective territories the following year.[2] In 1895 Britain and the Netherlands signed a border treaty which delimited their common boundary on the island at its current location.[2]

British New Guinea was renamed the Territory of Papua in 1905 and given to Australia the following year. Following the defeat of Germany in the First World War it was stripped of its colonies, with German New Guinea given to Britain in 1920 and then united with Papua in 1949 as the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.[2] Indonesia gained recognized independence in 1949, however Dutch New Guinea was kept under Dutch rule owing to its unique character, sparking a dispute with Indonesia, which claimed the territory. The territory was later transferred to Indonesia in 1963, with some locals opposed to Indonesian rule and began an insurgency that continues today.[3][4][5] In 1973 the eastern half of the island was renamed Papua New Guinea and gained independence in 1975.[6][2] The border was based on an Australian-Indonesia treaty signed on 13 February 1973 which fixed the border at its current position.[2][7]

Tensions between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea grew, as the ongoing West Papuan conflict destabilised the border region, causing flows of refugees and cross-border incursions by Indonesia's military.[8] In 1986 a friendship treaty between the two countries was signed, by which both sides agreed to settle any issues they had peacefully.[8] The treaty was renewed in 1990.[8]

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the border was officially closed, but in practice people continued to pass through the porous borders.[9] It was reopened in September 2021, but then was once more closed by November.[10]

Border crossings[edit]

Skouw border post in Jayapura
Border pillar MM13 near border post of Sota

There is currently just one binational, official crossing point, between Jayapura (Indonesia, at Skouw) and Vanimo (Papua New Guinea).[11] However Indonesia had established another border post in Waris, Keerom Regency, Sota and Torasi, Merauke Regency, as well as a border post in construction in Yetetkun, Boven Digoel Regency.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Indonesia". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "International Boundary Study No. 155 – Indonesia – Papua New Guinea Boundary" (PDF). US Department of State. 7 February 1977. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  3. ^ Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (24 August 2015). The current status of the Papuan pro-independence movement (PDF) (Report). IPAC Report No.21. Jakarta, Indonesia. OCLC 974913162. Retrieved 24 October 2017. {{cite report}}: |author1= has generic name (help)
  4. ^ Lintner, Bertil (22 January 2009). "Papuans Try to Keep Cause Alive". Jakarta Globe. Archived from the original on 1 August 2013.
  5. ^ Pike, John (17 April 2009). "Free Papua Movement". Federation of American Scientists. Archived from the original on 13 May 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  6. ^ "In office - Gough Whitlam - Australia's PMs - Australia's Prime Ministers". Archived from the original on 2013-04-19. Retrieved 2017-10-02.
  8. ^ a b c "Indonesia: A Country Study". Country Studies. US Department of State. 1993. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  9. ^ "Indonesia and PNG discuss border issues". RNZ. 6 August 2021. Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  10. ^ "Indonesia shuts down border". The National. 24 November 2021. Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  11. ^ "PNG Border Crossings". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 20 September 2020.