Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. James Marape commended the Department of Foreign Affairs for Papua New Guinea’s notable achievements on the global stage during the department’s Christmas luncheon in Port Moresby on Friday, December 15, 2023.
Prime Minister Marape expressed his appreciation for the country’s commitment to the path of “thinking national, staying regional, and acting global” throughout 2023. He emphasised that Papua New Guinea would continue along this trajectory in 2024 and beyond, stating, “We do not want PNG to be left behind; we want to really progress.”
Prime Minister Marape affirmed Papua New Guinea’s commitment to fostering positive international relations and building on the successes of 2023 in the years to come.
During his address, the Prime Minister extended gratitude to all bilateral partners and heads of missions present, acknowledging their significant contributions to facilitating global connectivity. He specifically thanked bilateral partners who have stood by Papua New Guinea since its independence in 1975.
“I am more focused on ramping up economic gains for our country than ever before,” Prime Minister Marape said.
Recognising the privileged international relationships Papua New Guinea enjoys, the Prime Minister expressed gratitude to the wisdom of the country’s founders, especially Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, Sir Julius Chan, and their generation. He highlighted the foresight of that generation in embracing the principle of ‘friends to all, enemies to none,’ fostering Christianity, and actively seeking meaningful relationships.
Prime Minister Marape outlined the key highlights of the year, including:
• Establishment of a PNG Embassy in Jerusalem.
• Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit in Port Moresby attended by Indian Prime Minister Hon. Narendra Modi.
• Visit of the French President H.E. Emmanuel Macron to PNG in July. Prime Minister Marape also met him in March in Gabon, Central Africa, and again in Paris, France, in September. These meetings resulted in a ‘country package’ commitment of US$100 million (K342 million) dedicated to preserving Papua New Guinea’s nature, forests, and mitigating climate impact. President Macron announced this on the margins of COP-28 in Dubai earlier this month. In October this year, in Port Moresby, the official launch of the K210 million European Union-funded Forestry, Climate Change, and Biodiversity (EU-FCCB) Programme took place.
• Visit to China featuring back-to-back meetings with Chinese President H.E. Xi Jinping and Premier H.E. Li Qiang, and an address to the Road and Belt Conference. Some of the successful outcomes of these meetings are opening of direct flights from Guangzhou to Port Moresby and sale of agriculture produce to China.
• Visit to South Korea, meeting with Korean President H.E Yoon Suk Yeol.
• Meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Hon. Fumio Kishida on the margins of various international meetings.
• Meeting with US Secretary of State H.E. Antony Blinken and signing of Defence Cooperation Agreement in Port Moresby.
• Meetings with US President H.E. Joe Biden at various international meetings.
• Meeting with US Vice President H.E. Kamala Harris at APEC 2023.
• Meeting Indonesian President H.E. Joko Widodo in Port Moresby and Jakarta. Among successful outcomes are direct flights between Bali and Port Moresby, and 2,000 scholarships for PNG students to study at Indonesian universities and colleges.
• Meeting former New Zealand Prime Minister Hon. Chris Hipkins in Port Moresby.
• Meetings with Pacific leaders in Port Moresby.
• Meeting Australian Prime Minister Hon. Anthony Albanese in Port Moresby and Canberra. Prime Minister Albanese addressed the PNG Parliament and visited the burial site of Sir Michael Somare in Wewak in January. Prime Minister Marape’s visit to Canberra earlier this month saw the signing today of the historic A$200 million (K455 million) Bilateral Security at Parliament House with Prime Minister Albanese. Prime Minister Marape will address the Australian Parliament in February 2024.
• Several other significant engagements.