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Newsline: Australia, Vanuatu top diplomats clinch security deal

Australia signed a security deal on Tuesday with the Pacific islands nation of Vanuatu, it said in a statement, amid concern over China’s military ambitions for the strategically important region. Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong is visiting Vanuatu with a bipartisan delegation, as Australia steps up its diplomacy throughout the Pacific islands after the Solomon Islands signed a security pact with Beijing in April. The security deal covers cooperation in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, policing, defence, border security, environment and resource security, cyber security and maritime and aviation safety and security, the statement said. Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Jotham Napat told reporters on Monday the Pacific island’s new government, elected last month, has not held security discussions with China. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/australia-vanuatu-strike-security-pact-covering-policing-defence-cyber-2022-12-13/) In May, China sought but failed to reach a wider security and trade pact with 10 out of 18 Pacific island nations. Australia and New Zealand have argued security and policing needs should be met within the region.

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