Biden to be first sitting US president to visit Papua New Guinea | Politics News


Announcement comes as Washington has more and more sought to shore up affect within the Pacific to counter China.

Joe Biden is ready to grow to be the primary sitting United States president in historical past to go to Papua New Guinea, the White Home has stated, as Washington continues to shore up support amongst nations within the Pacific as a part of a wider effort to counter Beijing.

Biden will journey to the nation of roughly 9.4 million folks later this month between visits to Japan for a Group of seven (G7) assembly and to Australia, the place he’ll maintain talks with leaders of the so-called “Quad” grouping of Australia, India, Japan and the US.

Through the stopover in Papua New Guinea, anticipated on Might 22, Biden will meet with Prime Minister James Marape and different leaders of the Pacific Island Discussion board, a group of 18 nations and territories that span 30 million sq km (10 million sq miles) of ocean.

“The leaders will talk about methods to deepen cooperation on challenges important to the area and to the US comparable to combating local weather change, defending maritime sources, and advancing resilient and inclusive financial progress,” White Home press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated in an announcement on Tuesday.

She added that the US “has deep historic and people-to-people ties with the Pacific Islands, and this go to – the primary time a sitting US President has visited a Pacific Island nation – additional reinforces this important partnership”.

Papua New Guinea has been negotiating safety pacts with the US, and Biden’s go to may see the finalisation of a US-Papua New Guinea Defence Cooperation Settlement that will enable extra joint coaching between the 2 nations and the event of safety infrastructure.

In January, Papua New Guinea additionally announced it was concluding a brand new safety treaty with shut US ally Australia. The transfer got here after each nations had expressed alarm a couple of safety pact signed by China and the Solomon Islands in April that has led to fears of a Chinese language navy build-up within the South Pacific area.

A state-backed Chinese language firm has since gained a contract to develop the worldwide port within the Solomon Islands capital of Honiara.

Papua New Guinea additionally has been courted by Beijing; Marape has been invited to the Chinese language capital later this yr, whereas Chinese language President Xi Jinping visited the nation in 2018.

For its half, the US final yr hosted the primary ever US-Pacific Island summit in Washington, DC, an occasion attended by Marape and different Pacific Island Discussion board leaders. The Biden administration has additionally sought to re-up safety agreements with an array of Pacific island nations.

Most lately, a US official stated Washington was on observe to open a brand new embassy in Tonga in Might. The US has additionally re-opened its embassy within the Solomon Islands and has stated it additionally plans to open an embassy in Vanuatu.

Nonetheless, US particular envoy Joseph Yun, chatting with the Hudson Institute final month, stated the US was taking part in “catch-up” after years of relative neglect throughout which China’s affect soared throughout the South Pacific.

“Let’s face it, it’s strategic competitors between China and us,” he stated. “Have we uncared for the Pacific? The reply is sure … We try to appropriate that fairly a bit.”

The connection between Washington and Beijing has seen rising tensions previously few years because the US prioritised strategic competitors with China in its overseas coverage beneath former President Donald Trump, a place absolutely embraced by Biden.

The US Congress additionally has sought to sort out China’s rising affect.

Final week, the Senate launched their latest legislative effort, together with a invoice prime Democrats stated goals to restrict the stream of know-how to Beijing, deter China from initiating a battle with Taiwan, and tighten guidelines to dam US capital from going to Chinese language corporations.

However US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated that whereas Washington is in competitors with Beijing, the Biden administration is in search of to take care of open traces of communication with its Chinese language counterparts.

“We’re in a contest with China; there’s no secret about that. However we now have a robust curiosity in attempting to guarantee that that competitors doesn’t veer into battle,” Blinken said on May 3.

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