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U.S. President Joe Biden To Briefly Visit Papua New Guinea On May 22

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Papua New Guinea

(CTN News) – As the United States and China compete for influence, U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with 18 leaders from the South Pacific when he travels to Papua New Guinea in May, a top regional diplomat said on Saturday.

After World War II, the South Pacific was considered to be somewhat of a diplomatic backwater; however, it is now becoming a more popular place for powers to compete for commercial, political, and military influence.

At a press conference, the foreign minister of Papua New Guinea, Justin Tkatchenko, said that Biden would attend bilateral discussions with his hosts and that he was “also having a meeting with the 18 Pacific Island leaders.”

Biden is due to arrive Papua New Guinea on May 22

A regional grouping of 18 nations, the Pacific Island Forum, is made up primarily of small entities dispersed throughout the huge ocean.

New Zealand’s and Australia’s prime ministers will also be present.

No sitting American president has ever visited Papua New Guinea, according to State Department records that go back to Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency in 1901.

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In addition, Biden has summits for the G7 in Hiroshima and “the Quad” (Australia, India, Japan, and the United States) in Sydney slated for May.

As China’s influence grew across the South Pacific during the years of relative neglect, according to U.S. special envoy Joseph Yun, the United States was this week playing “catch-up.”

East of Papua New Guinea, China recently inked a covert security agreement with the Solomon Islands that could allow Chinese forces to station themselves there.

As part of Beijing’s effort to establish a strategic foothold in the South Pacific, a state-backed Chinese company was awarded a contract in March to build the international port in Honiara, the nation’s capital.

The region could prove vital in any possible military conflagration over Taiwan

According to Yun, “We need to accelerate our catch-up.” Before the Pacific meeting with Biden was confirmed, he said, “Any high-level engagement is welcome.”

Let’s face it, China and we are in a strategic race, said Yun.

“Have we forgotten about the Pacific? Yes, we have neglected the Pacific, so I do appreciate that more attention is now being paid to it. We are working hard to change that.

A U.S.-Papua New Guinea Defence Cooperation Agreement that would permit increased collaborative training and the development of security infrastructure may be finalised during Biden’s visit.

Washington is working to build a combined naval base at Lombrum on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

According to Australia’s Department of Defence, which is also a participant in the effort, construction began in the middle of 2020.

It’s anticipated that the facility will eventually house four Guardian-class patrol boats.

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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