Papua New Guinea Leader Expresses Displeasure over Biden’s Cannibalism Remarks

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, James Marape, has voiced his discontent after President Joe Biden seemingly suggested that his uncle may have been eaten by cannibals during World War II. Biden’s remarks, made at a Pennsylvania war memorial, have sparked criticism from Marape, who accused the U.S. president of tarnishing the image of the South Pacific island nation.

Speaking in Melbourne, Australia, Marape condemned Biden’s comments, stating that they were disrespectful to Papua New Guinea. He emphasized that Papua New Guinea should not be associated with cannibalism, and expressed disappointment over being labeled in such a manner by a key strategic ally.

Biden’s remarks come at a time when China is actively seeking to expand its influence in the region, adding weight to Marape’s concerns. The incident has sparked a diplomatic rift between Papua New Guinea and the United States, with Marape’s statement coinciding with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit to Papua New Guinea.

While the White House has downplayed Biden’s remarks as possibly being a slip of the tongue, Marape underscored the seriousness of the issue, highlighting the need for mutual respect between nations.

He called for a reevaluation of historical legacies and urged the United States to address the remnants of World War II scattered across Papua New Guinea’s jungles.

Marape’s meeting with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi further underscores the complexity of diplomatic relations in the region. He seized the opportunity to urge the U.S. to locate and repatriate the remains of servicemen, including those of Biden’s uncle, who lost their lives during World War II.

The call for action echoes the sentiments of many Papua New Guineans who continue to grapple with the remnants of war, including unexploded bombs and wreckage. Marape’s statement serves as a reminder of the enduring impact of conflict and the importance of reconciliation and remembrance in shaping international relations.

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