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U.S. to strike economic deal with Pacific islands to counter China

Washington explores more military access as Beijing expands reach

U.S. servicemen carry supplies at the Naval Base Guam. The Pacific islands have become a major concern in Washington's rivalry with Beijing. (Handout photo from the U.S. Navy)   © Reuters

WASHINGTON/SYDNEY -- From small Pacific island nations to the territory of Guam, the U.S. is increasing its military footprint across the Indo-Pacific to bolster a line of defense against an increasingly assertive China.

"War is not inevitable, and it's not imminent. However, this decade presents a period of increased risk," Adm. John Aquilino, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday.

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