Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: China’s top diplomat starts Pacific tour in the Solomons

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and a 20-strong delegation arrived in the Solomon Islands Thursday at the start of an eight-nation tour that comes amid growing concerns about Beijing’s military and financial ambitions in the South Pacific region. Australia was scrambling to counter the move by sending its own Foreign Minister Penny Wong to Fiji to shore up support in the Pacific. Wong has been on the job just five days following an Australian election and had just arrived back Wednesday night from a meeting in Tokyo. “We need to respond to this because this is China seeking to increase its influence in the region of the world where Australia has been the security partner of choice since the Second World War,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (https://www.mrt.com/news/article/China-s-foreign-minister-starts-Pacific-tour-in-17199786.php) Meanwhile, the Media Association of Solomon Islands was calling on its members to boycott a news conference being held in the capital, Honiara, by Wang and his counterpart from the Solomon Islands, Jeremiah Manele.

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