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Blinken heads to Tonga, New Zealand, Australia as US shifts Indo-Pacific strategy into overdrive


AP Diplomatic Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Tonga, New Zealand and Australia next week as the Biden administration shifts its Indo-Pacific strategy into overdrive in part to counter China’s growing influence in the region. The State Department says Blinken will dedicate a new U.S. embassy in the Tongan capital of Nukuʻalofa on July 26 before heading to Wellington, New Zealand, where he will attend the women’s World Cup match between the U.S. and the Netherlands. He’ll then have meetings with New Zealand officials and move on to Brisbane, Australia, for meetings with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and their Australian counterparts on July 28-29. The trip will be Blinken’s third to Asia in the past two months.

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