Anthony Albanese to walk Kokoda Track with PNG PM James Marape for Anzac Day

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Anthony Albanese will commemorate Anzac Day by walking part of the Kokoda Track alongside his Papua New Guinea counterpart, James Marape.

As Australia pushes for closer diplomatic ties with the Pacific nation, the two prime ministers will spend a few days walking before attending a Dawn Service at Isurava on April 25 to commemorate the 600 Australians who died during the Kokoda campaign of the Second World War.

Announcing his visit on Friday, Mr Albanese said it would honour the sacrifice of hundreds of Australians who fought along the track to defend against a Japanese invasion more than 80 years ago.

“This year on Anzac Day I will be in Isurava on the Kokoda Track, taking the opportunity to show my respect to the remarkable effort to protect our nation at one of its darkest hours,” he said in a speech on Friday.

“We will gather in the peace that is the gift to us from generations of Australians who have taken up arms in our name.

“We will gather to remember all who have served and all who serve now. We will remember all who lost their lives, all who survived and came home.”

Mr Albanese will become the first sitting prime minister to walk the famous track, and it follows his historic address to the PNG parliament last January – the first Australian prime minister to do so.

Mr Marape addressed Australia’s parliament in Canberra in February.

Kevin Rudd walked the track in 2006 while opposition leader, as did Scott Morrison in 2009 while a backbench MP.

The famous track stretches 96km – 60km in a straight line – from the Kokoda Plateau to Owers Corner, where Australian forces were stationed in July 1942 to stop the Japanese advancement on capital Port Moresby.

In addition to the 600 people who died, thousands more Australians were seriously injured or became ill.

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