Australia leader postpones Papua New Guinea visit due to COVID illness
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has deferred a visit to Papua New Guinea until early next year after testing positive for COVID-19.
He had been expected to visit on Monday, PNG Prime Minister James Marape said in a statement on Facebook, adding that new dates for the trip would be confirmed later.
Marape also said that Australia was Papua New Guinea’s top bilateral relationship.
“In the last three years, Australia has given more support in terms of grant and concessional loans,” he said.
Australia is negotiating a defence pact with PNG, and has increased its diplomacy in the Pacific islands amid competition with China for influence.
(Reporting by Kirsty Needham; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)