Joe Biden Cancels Visit to Papua New Guinea

The government of Papua New Guinea prepared for months to celebrate a historic visit from Joe Biden that would take place on May 22. However, on May 16, Biden announced his visit was canceled so he could focus on debt limit talks in Washington, D.C.

Biden was to be the first sitting U.S. president to visit the island nation. In his honor, Papua New Guinea posted billboards, prepared singers and dancers to line the streets, and declared May 22 to be a public holiday.

In Biden’s stead, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Port Moresby on May 22 and signed a security pact with Papua New Guinean Defense Minister Win Bakri Daki. The contract pledged millions of dollars in security cooperation and granted American forces access to Papua New Guinea’s airfields and ports.

Trustworthy partner? Some analysts worry that since Biden canceled the visit, many in the Pacific region will question America’s dependability.

Unfortunately, it speaks to a pattern of behavior that causes many in the region to regard the U.S. as a less-than-reliable partner.
—Anna Powles, senior lecturer at the Center for Defense and Security Studies in New Zealand

The prime minister of the Cook Islands, Mark Brown, warned that the region could easily look to China as a better partner than America:

It is going to be a disappointment for a number of the Pacific leaders who had made special arrangements to be in Papua New Guinea to meet with [Biden]. Many of our countries in the Pacific have well-established diplomatic relations with China. China has been filling a gap in the development sphere, helping Pacific countries achieve their development priorities.

The United States and China have been challenging each other’s dominance over the Pacific for years. Biden pulling out of the trip to Papua New Guinea has made America look fickle and weak to its Pacific allies. Bible prophecy warns that American power in Asia and beyond will continue to decline and that nations such as China will grow more dominant.

Learn more: Read “China Is Steering the World Toward War.”