Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Top Australian diplomat visits Solomons to address security concerns

Australia’s foreign minister landed Friday in Solomon Islands to address relations frayed by the Pacific nation’s cosy ties and recent security pact with China. (https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/top-australian-diplomat-visits-solomons-to-address-security-concerns/ar-AAYzfRK) It is the latest stop in a South Pacific travel blitz by Foreign Minister Penny Wong, who is seeking to shore up regional ties against China’s growing sway. It marks the first visit to the Solomons by an Australian foreign minister since the island nation sealed a security pact in April with China, sparking alarm in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The agreement has not been made public, but a leaked draft showed it would allow Chinese naval deployments to the island, which lies less than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) from Australia. China and Solomon Islands have each dismissed fears among the United States and its allies that it could lead to the construction of a Chinese military base.

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