Prime Minister James Marape is preparing to meet with Chinese President Hon. Xi Jinping in a one-on-one exchange on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders Summit in Bangkok from 17 to 19 this month, November, 2022.
Prime Minister Marape welcomed the invitation to the meeting, calling it a “high honour for Papua New Guinea”, as PNG continues its “Friend to all; Enemy to none” position and China continues as PNG’s biggest trading partner.
The meeting becomes the first high level talk between the two leaders since re-election to their respective posts – Prime Minister Marape in May and President Xi in October this year. PM Marape said:
“This is a high honour for PNG to meet with the President. “We live in the Pacific and so we must deal with all Pacific nations – the US on the Eastern side, and Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, India, and China on the other side.
“Papua New Guinea does not hide our friendship with nations. We show that we are friends to all countries including China.
Being the second biggest economy in the Asia Pacific region, it is important that we maintain our relationship with China.
“We cannot afford to be friends to one and enemy to the other. This is both a Christian principle and a Melanesian principle.
“China is also our biggest trading partner currently. I will use the opportunity of the meeting to also call for more Chinese partners to come in to help us process our coffee and our fish. “I am totally honoured for this opportunity. I know President Xi has other bi-laterals that he would have picked ahead of meeting with PNG, but he has chosen to meet with us.”
Prime Minister Marape reiterated PNG’s ‘One China Policy’, installed just after Independence by the party he now leads.
He said it was his duty to “entrench this further so the one after me can carry on this path into the future”.