Prime Minister James Marape returns home today (Wednesday, October 5, 2022) after very-successful official visits to London (United Kingdom), New York City (USA), Brisbane (Australia), Tokyo (Japan) and Washington D.C. (USA).
He was in London to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and the ascension of King Charles III; the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York; a Brisbane bilateral with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese; the state funeral of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo in which PM Marape also had a bilateral with Japanese Prime Minister Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and important business meetings; and the U.S.-Pacific Islands Summit in Washington D.C. in which PM Marape also had a bilateral with U.S. President Joe Biden.
“The four nations that I visited control 35 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP),” PM Marape said.
“I made contact with leaders of these four nations for and on behalf of PNG.”
In the UK, PM Marape met King Charles III and UK Prime Minister Hon. Liz Truss. The discussions with King Charles III touched on forests conservation in PNG – which is consistent with the thinking of the Marape Government and with economic return to the country. Links between PNG and the Commonwealth and the UK were also strengthened by the visit. There will be military and public service exchanges between the two countries. Flexible UK visa arrangements allow for Papua New Guineans to easily travel there.
At the 77th UNGA, PM Marape touched on forests conservation and PNG’s ability to contribute to world food security, going into the future, in a speech that touched on many issues. He also met international leaders including those of Israel, Norway (which has one of the world’s best sovereign wealth funds), and many others.
In Australia, PM Marape had bilateral discussions with Australian PM Albanese, including watching the Prime Minister’s XIII rugby league match together. PNG is looking to educate more of its people in Australia, secure employment on the farms, as well as increased trade between the two nations.
In Japan – one of the big buyers of PNG liquefied natural gas (LNG), coffee, tuna, timber and copper – PM Marape attended the state funeral of former PM Abe together with many world leaders. Hours before the funeral, Japanese PM Kishida accorded PM Marape a bilateral meeting, one of a select few among the 191 world leaders. PM Kishida expressed to PM Marape Japan’s need for more energy through PNG LNG.PM Marape said PNG could supply more LNG to Japan through the new gas fields. He also had business meetings with three major Japanese energy companies and Japanese Development Institute (JDI) to help set up special economic zones (SEZs) in PNG.
In Washington D.C., PM Marape had a person-to-person conversation with U.S. President Biden in the White House, in which several matters of mutual interest were discussed. PM Marape told President Biden that PNG wanted to see increased trade with the USA. He invited U.S. companies to come to PNG and invest in downstream processing of natural resources. President Biden concurred with PM Marape that forests conservation must be of financial gain for PNG. PM Marape asked President Biden for more opportunities to be given to Papua New Guineans in terms of education and employment.
“The three weeks has been hectic but fruitful,” PM Marape surmised.
“We made contact at the highest level with leaders of the UK, Australia, Japan and the USA – who control 35 per cent of global GDP – as well as met many other world leaders at the UNGA.
“It is my job, as Prime Minister, to make contact at this level.
“It is now incumbent upon individual ministries and sectors to build upon the contacts established, and meetings held, for the good of our country.”