Papua New Guinea
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US-Pacific Leaders Summit successful says Marape

PRIME Minister James Marape has returned to Papua New Guinea after a hectic one-day meeting with US President and 14 other Pacific member State leaders.

US President Joe Biden met with Marape and the Pacific island leaders for a second White House summit on Monday officially announcing U.S. diplomatic recognition of two more Pacific islands nations, the Cook Islands and Niue.

Biden in his address pledged to work with Congress to provide an additional $200 million in funding for projects in the Pacific region aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change, spurring economic growth, countering illegal fishing and improving public health, according to a document issued after a working lunch with the group.

“The United States is committed to ensuring an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, prosperous, and secure. We’re committed to working with all the nations around this table to achieve that goal,” Biden said.

“These new programs and activities continue to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to work together with the Pacific Islands to expand and deepen our cooperation in the years ahead,” he said.

Representatives of all 18 PIF members attended the summit, but not all at leader level.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who has deepened ties with China, did not attend, and a senior Biden administration official said the U.S. was “disappointed” by that.

“PIF nations have been in dialogue with US, this is our second meeting. US has decided to reach deeper into the Pacific nations,” Marape said.

“This broader initiative involving multiple partners can help to leverage resources and expertise towards achieving sustainable, resilient, and climate-resilient economic growth in the region,” he said.

He said the United States’ commitment to the Pacific islands follows the Biden Administration pledge to help the region fend off economic coercion from other nations. 

US aims to strengthen its partnership with Pacific Island nations in various areas, including climate change, economic growth, sustainable development, public health, and countering illegal fishing.

Prime Minister Marape says PNG embraces the stronger U.S. regional presence as a step towards making the Pacific more secure and prosperous. 

He said it is also encouraging to see the Pacific Island Forum leaders meeting being endorsed to further enhance cooperation with a focus on mutual prosperity, security, and sustainability.

“PNG remains committed to working closely with the United States and other Pacific Island nations to address common challenges and seize opportunities for growth and development,” PM Marape said.

Overall, this summit marks a significant step towards making the Pacific more secure and prosperous.