SECRETARY BLINKEN: Good afternoon, everyone. Prime Minister, (inaudible) hospitality (inaudible) economic and security partner. We’re also working very closely together here (inaudible) good week. And day in day out, we are working together to advance inclusive economic growth, to build greater connectivity – especially in this 21st century when people need to be connected to fully participate in the economy – and, of course, working together to deal with the ravages of climate change, to make sure that we’re helping to build resilience, adaptation, and ultimately protecting people, protecting our environment from climate. So it’s very good to have this opportunity to further the partnership that we have. Over to you.
PRIME MINISTER MARAPE: All right, thank you, Secretary of State, His Excellency Antony Blinken – and President Biden – we have elevated the relationship between Papua New Guinea and the United States of America. Thank you for giving us time to meet at the margins of this important APEC. Congratulation on a wonderful host in as far as APEC is concerned.
It was also nice to see President Biden and President Xi Jinping meet also. APEC is about the economy, economy saves the world, and we’re two – the first two economies – the biggest economy – and the U.S. moreso the leader of the free world, and then the second biggest economy. Me together, we thought this is one of the great outcomes of this APEC, and I just want to congratulate the leadership of yourself, working under President Biden. You all did very well.
We just came out of a very important conversation, and I thought, again, President Biden, his administration, the leadership in the space of sustainability, climate change, an inclusive world for all where we aren’t leaving anyone behind – conversations that are very close to Papua New Guinea. We sat at the meeting representing not just ourself but a small island state, the emerging economies, developing countries, but also the forest nations. I point out to the fact that climate change conversations will not be complete without conversation on forest – forestry management, (inaudible) management. The mitigation efforts must be clearly progressed.
And I want to appreciate your leadership in assisting President Biden in getting the world in the right direction. It is not easy for you as a big oil producing nation and a gas-producing nation. You had to sacrifice in that context whether you’re thinking futuristic, you’re thinking global – and that’s something that is commendable, and we know it’s not easy in United States to make this call where the other half of the consumer now focus on enjoying the personal lifestyle without considering the future of Planet Earth. So I just want to commend both your leadership.
In PNG’s context, we’re happy that U.S. and Papua New Guinea has now entrenched our own relationship. Papua New Guinea is the biggest economy, but more importantly, biggest democracy. Outside of New Zealand and Australia, we are the biggest democracy in the Indo-Pacific. We are the only Pacific country that you cross over into Southeast Asia and Asia by land – our close proximity to Asia gives us a unique characteristics. We have place in both worlds. We’re Pacific but we also are linked to Asia. We have characteristics and link by our close proximity to Asia, and we have that unique place to also assist in entrenching democracy, rule of law.
And when they talk about Indo-Pacific, conversation about Indo-Pacific is not complete without PNG, because we’re the heart and soul of – there are two distinct space in as far as world geography is concerned: Pacific and the Indo world. And I want to sincerely appreciate your time, as well as your team in Washington, D.C., for organizing the space and place – PNG places in the entire scheme of things. We commit to rule of law; we commit to good governance. We commit to the principles that you subscribe to as the leader of the free world.
And in that context, our continuous rapport, working together side by side, not only at our levels but more importantly those who work with us and those who will come after us – they must see the importance of such a continuity in our engagements today – paved the way and secures the future for those who come after us in the public policy space, in the country leadership spaces. And I want to commend President Biden, as well as – in the space of those who are technocrats, your strong leadership in making sure PNG and U.S.A. comes to this level of our own two nations’ relationship.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you. Thank you, Prime Minister.