The possibility of accession of Papua New Guinea to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is currently a matter of discussion.
Violent crime, political instability, poor infrastructure, and unskilled labor are obstacles to this happening, as well as the fact that the country is closer, culturally and geographically, to the Pacific islands to its east and that it is historically and financially tied more closely to Australia in the south. PNG was not directly administered by the Portuguese, British, Dutch, French or American governments that controlled the colonies of Southeast Asia (with the exception of Thailand). PNG was partially under German control, then later administered by Australia (with a very brief stint under British control) until its independence.
As early as 1987, PNG's membership in the South Pacific Forum was viewed as an obstacle to its joining ASEAN. Currently, Indonesia is the only ASEAN member supporting Papua New Guinea's membership. Papua New Guinea has enjoyed observer status in ASEAN since 1976. Benefits PNG has cited to ASEAN members from PNG's accession might include tapping into Papua New Guinea's lead industries such as oil and gas, mining and seafood.