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Visit by Solomon Islands leader to Beijing underscores rising China-US rivalry in South Pacific

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BEIJING (AP) — The leader of the Solomon Islands will visit China next week, highlighting the accelerating contest between Beijing and Washington for influence in the South Pacific. China’s Foreign Ministry says Manasseh Sogavare will meet top officials in Beijing and travel to Jiangsu and Guangdong provinces, among China’s most developed. A ministry spokesperson says the visit will “inject new momentum” into relations and “deepen mutual political trust, expand pragmatic cooperation and strengthen people-to-people exchanges.” Wang said. Sogavare’s switching of diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China and signing of a secretive security agreement that could see Chinese forces stationed in the island nation set off alarm bells in Washington as well as in neighboring Australia and New Zealand.

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Associated Press

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