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International relations

China inks deal with Samoa as Australia vows Pacific islands plan

Wang Yi signs 'economic and technical cooperation' pact with prime minister

Samoan Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa sits down with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on May 28. (Photo courtesy of Samoan government)

SYDNEY (Reuters) -- China's foreign minister signed a deal with Samoa on Saturday to strengthen diplomatic relations, while Australia's new leader said he had a "comprehensive plan" for the Pacific, as Beijing and Canberra continued rival campaigns to woo the region.

China is building on a security pact it recently signed with Solomon Islands, which has alarmed the United States and its allies such as Australia as they fear a stepped-up military presence by Beijing. Australia's new center-left government has made the Pacific islands an early diplomatic priority.

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