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International relations

Australian leader embarks on Pacific trip to regain 'backyard'

Morrison pledges high-quality infrastructure as neighbors deepen ties with China

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, left, meets with Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas on Jan. 16 in Port Vila, Vanuatu. (Photo by AAP)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, left, meets with Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas on Jan. 16 in Port Vila, Vanuatu. (Photo by AAP)

SYDNEY -- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is visiting the Pacific island nations of Vanuatu and Fiji in a region he called Australia's "backyard," weeks after China strengthened its footprint there by cancelling debt and offering fresh financing to Vanuatu.

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