It will be a nod to the past and a wink to the future when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull makes his first official trip to Papua New Guinea today.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Kokoda Trail campaign in the Second World War.
An estimated 625 Australians were killed along the trail and more than 1600 were wounded. Casualties from sickness exceeded 4000.
Mr Turnbull will lay a floral wreath at the track and will pay his respects to Australia’s war dead at the Bomana War Cemetery, just outside the capital Port Moresby on Saturday.
He’s expected to hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill later that day.
“I look forward to reflecting on our strong shared history, and cementing the special relationship with our neighbour,” Mr Turnbull said in a statement.
The meeting will be muted given Mr O’Neill’s government is shortly going into caretaker mode ahead of his country’s elections in June.
In March, PNG made a surprise request for direct budget support from Australia to pay for schools and hospitals. But the request has been flatly rejected.
PNG is already Australia’s highest aid recipient with a program worth half a billion dollars.
Decades ago Australia directly funded PNG budgets, but the practice was halted because of corruption problems.
The PNG economy has faced severe challenges as a result of the downturn in global commodity prices. The government’s coffers are strained and it has been forced to raise taxes and cut spending.
Mr Turnbull and Mr O’Neill are likely to discuss the closure of the Manus Island immigration detention centre and the fate of refugees who aren’t accepted for a US resettlement deal.
Also up for discussion, Port Moresby is gearing up to host the APEC leaders summit in 2018 and Australia is expected to contribute a large portion of the cost.
Australia recently announced $48 million in funding to extend the presence of 73 federal police officers in PNG until after the November summit.
Officers are helping PNG police plan security arrangements.
The prime minister will also attend joint Australia-PNG entrepreneur and innovation showcase.
Mr Turnbull on Sunday will address an Australia Papua New Guinea Business Council breakfast.
Problems accessing foreign currency in Port Moresby as well as the visa processes will be among the perennial issues raised with the prime minister.
He’s then due to fly to India.