Washington [US], May 24 (ANI): US President Joe Biden invited Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape on Wednesday for an upcoming meeting, according to National Security Council Director for the Indo-Pacific.
Dr Mira Rapp-Hooper said that Biden invited Albanese to visit the US this fall.
"Prime Minister Albanese graciously accepted on the spot and the two leaders discussed the upcoming engagement when they saw each other in Hiroshima, and our teams are already starting the planning efforts for that visit," said Hooper.
Speaking about Marape, she said that Biden has invited him to the US for the second Pacific Summit in Washington.
"Likewise, when the President spoke with Prime Minister Marape and let him know of his need to cancel his stop in Papua New Guinea, he (Biden) made clear that he intended to invite Pacific Island leaders to the United States for the second Pacific Summit in Washington," said Hooper.
The announcement comes days after Biden cancelled the second planned leg of his Asia trip to Australia and Papua New Guinea amid the debt ceiling standoff in Washington and the pressing need to reach a deal to avert a catastrophic US default.
Speaking on the trip cancellation, Hopper said, "Needless to say, you know, it was not necessarily planned at all, to have to reschedule the President's trips to Australia and Papua New Guinea. Although of course, they didn't. This the circumstances are clear what the president did in the immediate aftermath of realizing that he would have to return home to deal with the economic situation posed by the debt ceiling was immediately reached out to his counterparts in both Papua New Guinea and Australia."Hopper said that while rescheduling Biden's trips is pending, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea James Marape will have "close contact in the very immediate term.""I can say with great confidence that both of those engagements are already being scheduled. And while certainly, the President (Biden) looks forward to returning to both Australia and Papua New Guinea are very near-term focus will be on making sure that he is able to have deep and substantive engagements with all of the leaders who he intended to see this past week and then all the work we have ongoing with both sets of partners is carried forward," said Dr Mira Rapp-Hooper.
President Biden hosted the first-ever US-Pacific Island Country Summit in Washington, on September 28-29, 2022 which demonstrated the US's deep and enduring partnership with Pacific Island countries and the Pacific region that is underpinned by shared history, values, and people-to-people ties.
That was the first-ever Summit hosted by the Biden administration amid the US' increased focus on countering China's global influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
She also said that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken travelled to Papua New Guinea, just a couple of days ago and carried with him a letter that was signed by the President formally inviting the leaders of Pacific Island nations to come to Washington for a return Summit.
During his visit, Blinken and Marape signed the pact and a maritime security agreement on Monday during Blinken's visit to the capital Port Moresby.
Washington and its allies seek to deter Pacific island nations from forming security ties with China, a rising concern amid tensions over Taiwan, which Beijing considers its territory. China has said that any attempt by the self-governed island to secede will trigger military action. (ANI)