Biden, India's Modi to Meet Pacific Island Leaders, Papua New Guinea PM Says

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James Marape, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, said that he and Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will be joining Pacific Island leaders for a meeting next month, which he described as "historic".

Marape, in a press release, said that the meeting was a "first" in history and a "futuristic" gathering of superpowers from around the world.

Biden's stopover on May 22 in Port Moresby, the capital city, would be the first time a U.S. President has visited the richly resourced but still largely underdeveloped country with 9.4 million inhabitants just north of Australia.

Marape is attempting to increase foreign investment in Papua New Guinea by courting China, the U.S.A. and its allies. Chinese President Xi Jinping made a visit to the country in 2018.

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Washington has increased its efforts to counter Beijing’s growing influence after China signed a security agreement with the Solomon Islands in 2013. China has failed to sign a larger security and trade agreement with 10 Pacific Island countries.

China and Australia are major donors of infrastructure and aid.

Papua New Guinea has agreed to security pacts between the United States, Australia and Marape. Marape will visit Beijing in this year.

PNG and Pacific Islands cannot be overlooked in the Indo-Pacific discussion. Marape stated that our combined land and ocean areas are the largest sea and airspace on the planet, as well as the greatest carbon sink in the world.

The Pacific Islands Forum comprises 18 countries and territories that cover 30 million sq km (10 million sq miles) of ocean. Climate change, along with worsening cyclones, is the region's greatest security threat.

Modi and Biden are stopping in Papua New Guinea en route to Australia, where they will attend the Quad summit on May 24, which includes Japan and Australia.

Marape told reporters that Biden had been invited to his country by him when the two met in Washington, D.C. last year. He was "honored" to see him fulfill his promise.