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Australia reveals $1.5bn Pacific fund to counter China

Infrastructure aid meant to shore up Canberra's role as island benefactor

SYDNEY -- Australia will set up a 2 billion Australian dollar ($1.46 billion) infrastructure fund for projects in the Pacific, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Nov. 8, as the country looks to curb China's rising influence across the strategically important islands.

"Australia will step up in the Pacific and take our engagement with the region to a new level," Morrison said. "While we have natural advantages in terms of history, proximity and shared values, Australia cannot take its influence in the Southwest Pacific for granted -- and sadly, I think, too often we have."

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