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Papua New Guinea chief takes offense after Biden implies an uncle was eaten by cannibals

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Papua New Guinean Prime Minister James Marape, left, listens throughout a gathering with Pacific Islands Forum leaders through the U.S.-Pacific Islands Forum Summit within the East Room of the White House on September 25, 2023, in Washington.
| Photo Credit: AP

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape accused Joe Biden of disparaging the South Pacific island nation by implying that an uncle of the U.S. President had been eaten by “cannibals” there throughout World War II.

Mr. Biden’s feedback offended a key strategic ally as China strikes to extend its affect within the area.

The President spoke at a Pennsylvania conflict memorial final week about his Army Air Corps aviator uncle Ambrose Finnegan, who was shot down over Papua New Guinea, which was a theater of heavy preventing.

“They never found the body because there used to be — there were a lot of cannibals for real in that part of New Guinea,” Mr. Biden stated, referring to the nation’s important island.

Mr. Marape stated in a press release on Sunday that Mr. Biden “appeared to imply his uncle was eaten by cannibals.”

“President Biden’s remarks may have been a slip of the tongue; however, my country does not deserve to be labeled as such,” Mr. Marape stated in a press release offered by his workplace to The Associated Press on April 22.

“World War II was not the doing of my people; however, they were needlessly dragged into a conflict that was not their doing,” Mr. Marape added.

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister turns into first Pacific chief to deal with Australia’s Parliament

The rift comes as Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese started a go to on Monday to Papua New Guinea, Australia’s nearest neighbor. Mr. Albanese and Mr. Marape will commemorate robust protection ties between the 2 international locations by strolling a part of a pivotal battle floor referred to as the Kokoda Track later this week.

“I’m very confident that PNG has no stronger partner than Australia and our defense and security ties have never been stronger,” Mr. Albanese instructed reporters earlier than departing Australia.

The U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon April 22.

Mr. Marape’s assertion was launched on the identical day he met China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Port Moresby to debate constructing nearer relations.

Mr. Marape additionally known as on the U.S. to seek out its conflict useless in Papua New Guinea’s jungles and to scrub up the wreckage of conflict.

U.S. army will get entry to Papua New Guinea bases

“The remains of WWII lie scattered all over PNG, including the plane that carried President Biden’s uncle,” Mr. Marape said.

“Perhaps, given President Biden’s comments and the strong reaction from PNG and other parts of the world, it is time for the USA to find as many remains of World War II in PNG as possible, including those of servicemen who lost their lives like Ambrose Finnegan,” he stated.

“The theaters of war in PNG and Solomon Islands are many, and littered with the remains of WWII including human remains, plane wrecks, ship wrecks, tunnels and bombs. Our people daily live with the fear of being killed by detonated bombs of WWII,” Mr. Marape added.

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