Australian PM postpones PNG trip as political crisis grips Pacific nation

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Australian Prime Minister Morrison speaks during a joint press conference at Admiralty House in Sydney
Australian Prime Minister Morrison speaks during a joint press conference at Admiralty House in Sydney

MELBOURNE (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.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Daniel Wallis)