The World May Be Getting a New Country

The world could be adding a new country.

Residents on the tiny island of Bougainville in the South Pacific are voting on a proposal to separate themselves from Papua New Guinea.

Some polls suggest 75% of residents could vote in favor of independence, but it's not a done deal.

The parliament of Papua New Guinea would also have to approve, and that appears unlikely.

Why the push for independence by Bougainville? The answer is copper.

A massive copper deposit on the island has been the source of bloody conflict. So much so, the mine was shuttered in 1989 after a 10-year civil war.

Now, Chinese and U.S. interests want to make the mine operational again. According to Bloomberg "At the junction of the Pacific and Southeast Asia, and halfway between Brisbane and the U.S. military base on Guam, Bougainville has a strategic interest as well as being a potential source of contracts for mining and construction companies."

Currently, there are 195 countries in the world, including 193 members of the U.N. and two non-member observer states, the Holy See and the State of Palestine.

Image courtesy Getty

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