Australian PM postpones PNG trip as political crisis grips Pacific nation

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a joint press conference held with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Admiralty House in Sydney, Australia, February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

(Reuters) – Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has postponed a visit to Papua New Guinea (PNG) after a request from Prime Minister James Marape, a government spokesman said on Sunday.

Marape is facing a threat to his leadership after several high-profile government members switched to the opposition on Friday, citing growing economic worries facing the indebted Pacific nation.

“Prime Minister Marape contacted the Prime Minister and asked him to defer his visit, and the Prime Minister was happy to do so,” a government spokesman said.

Morrison was expected to visit PNG next week on the way home from a trip to Japan.