Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister James Marape speaks at a joint press conference with his Australian counterpart in Port Moresby on Jan 12, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)
SYDNEY – US President Joe Biden and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, will join Pacific Islands leaders next month for a "historic" future-oriented meeting, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape said on Sunday.
"This is a historic first and at the same time a 'going forward' futuristic meeting of global superpowers, in the biggest country in the Pacific," Marape said in a statement.
The 18 countries and territories in the Pacific Islands Forum cover 30 million square km (10 million square miles) of ocean
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Biden's May 22 stopover in the capital Port Moresby would be the first visit by a sitting US president to the resource-rich country of 9.4 million people just north of Australia.
"In the Indo-Pacific conversation, PNG and the Pacific cannot be ignored. With our combined forest and sea areas, we have the world's greatest carbon sink, and the biggest sea and air space on earth," Marape said.
The 18 countries and territories in the Pacific Islands Forum cover 30 million square km (10 million square miles) of ocean. The region's leaders say climate change is their greatest security threat, amid worsening cyclones and rising sea levels.
Modi and Biden will stop in Papua New Guinea on the way to Australia for a May 24 summit of the Quad, which also includes Japan and Australia.
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Marape said he had invited Biden when they met in Washington last year, and was "very honored that he has fulfilled his promise to me to visit our country".