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China, Australia vie for Pacific influence with duelling visits

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By Kirsty Needham SYDNEY (Reuters) -China and Australia launched competing Pacific visits on Thursday, with China’s foreign minister expressing hope that ties with the Solomon Islands can be a regional model, while his counterpart said Canberra will be a partner that doesn’t come with strings attached. Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong told the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) secretariat in Fiji that Canberra will listen to Pacific islands which had “led the global debate” on climate change. She spoke as China’s foreign minister arrived in the region seeking a sweeping 10-nation deal on secu…

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