Thursday 15 September 2022
Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has reaffirmed Papua New Guinea’s relationship with United Kingdom and the Commonwealth calling it “very important” after he had a conversation with PNG’s new Head of State and Monarch, King Charles III.
While in London and getting ready to join the formal events that are part of the funeral rites for Her Majesty the late Queen Elizabeth, Mr Marape will join Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae in the events with other world leaders to farewell the late Monarch – Britain’s longest-serving royal who has served for 70 years as head of state in the UK and the Commonwealth of Nations.
After signing the Condolence Book at Lancaster House with his wife Mrs Rachael Marape, the Prime Minister said the old ‘republic’ debate might pick up again after the burial of the Queen as to whether PNG should retain its current status with England’s monarchy or choose to leave this path as other nations with links to United Kingdom have done.
However, the Prime Minister was clear about his position on this matter.
“This might seem outdated to some who say it is of history, but in this modern world, belonging to a family of nations is very important,” said PM Marape.
“Closer to home, we belong to the Pacific Islands Forum nations; we belong to the Asia Pacific group of nations; and we are an associated member of ASEAN.
“For us on the global stage, being a member of the Commonwealth group of nations, more importantly closest group of nations to the monarchy and to be among the 14 nations, the Queen and now the King remain as our Head of State.
“While this remains as a symbolic role, the family of nations is linked to a bilateral relation with the United Kingdom and the outside world as we move forward in contemporary PNG and modern times.
“Nation-to-nation relationship through the Commonwealth gives us access to 57 other nations.”
The Prime Minister said his government was now placing emphasis on bi-lateral relations by expanding existing political ties in the areas of commerce and trade, and would like to move into the trade of Agriculture produce and products besides the usual ones of mineral, oil and gas.
“There is always a benefit of having close ties with one of the G5 Nations, and so maintaining a relationship with United Kingdom is very important going forward into the future.
“For me to receive a call from the King is very important. It is symbolic but King Charles is no ordinary king. He has visited PNG four times in his lifetime.
“The Queen is known to have said that the prince (now King) was fond of PNG. So we have someone who has a very close association with us, Papua New Guinea, who is now the King.
“So, for us coming here and participating goes a long way. It consolidates and cements our relationship with the Monarch and the United Kingdom going forward,” said PM Marape.
The phone call today directly from the King to the Prime Minister was for the Monarch to advise PM Marape of the change in meeting dates from 16th to 17th September between the leaders.