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The bilateral relationship between Papua New Guinea and the United States solidifies and deepens further with the US Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III visit this week.

The visit by Secretary Austin to Port Moresby to meet with PM Marape is a follow-up to the signing of the two significant agreements recently– the Defense Cooperation Agreement and the Shiprider Agreement, undertaken by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and PNG Defense Minster Win Daki in Port Moresby in May of this year.

During the meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Marape and Secretary Austin discussed the details and the benefits of the agreements, and the United States’ commitment to securing PNG’s sovereignty, as well as its commitment to securing a free and peaceful Indo-Pacific region.

Prime Minister Marape appreciated the US “3D approach of Diplomacy and Defense followed by Development that is being seen in the recent engagements and the upcoming visit of the head of USAID to Port Moresby to formally signal this office to report directly to Washington DC instead of through the Manila, Philippines office.

“I take special note of the purpose of Secretary Austin’s visit which is to show commitment in defense and security following the singing of the Defense Cooperation Agreement and the Shiprider Agreement during Secretary Blinken’s visit to PNG in May of this year,” PM Marape said.

“The DCA heralds a new chapter in PNG and USA relations, as these agreements form the basis for strengthening and consolidating closer cooperation between our two countries.”

“One of the key objectives of the PNG government is for our country to pursue and enhance closer trade and economic ties with key bilateral and multilateral partners, including with the United States under Biden’s leadership.”

“In that connection, PNG views the US as a key partner to enhance and diversify trade and economic relations, either through a bilateral or a regional trade arrangement.”

“Consistent with President Biden’s call and challenge to American corporations to develop cleaner technology, the Pacific Island region offers great investment opportunities for US companies through public-private partnerships,” said the Prime Minister.

In their discussion, PM Marape continued to promote Papua New Guinea’s potential in agriculture to supply fresh organic foods to the world, including the United States, while he encouraged the American business community to take more interest in PNG.

Prime Minister Marape also reminded the US government through Secretary Austin about the Pacific region’s continued vulnerability to rising sea levels and climate-induced natural calamities, and that all nations with interest in the Pacific must take collective action to follow through on general conversations that have been held repeatedly over time.

“While we invite the US to pursue its interests in the region from a geopolitical and geostrategic context, I urge the United States to adjust its lens so that it can truly understand the real needs of the region,” said PM Marape.

PM Marape further highlighted PNG’s impending 50th Independence Anniversary in 2025 and invited US partnership leading up to and its presence at this major national event.

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