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International relations

Pacific forum signals reset with Australia, U.S. as China hovers

Albanese and Solomon Islands' Sogavare hug it out after neighbors' security spat

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hugs Solomon Islands counterpart Manasseh Sogavare on the sidelines of the Pacific Islands Forum in Suva, Fiji, on July 13.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- This year's Pacific Islands Forum is not likely to be remembered for its climate change agenda, but for reasons such as the sudden absence of Kiribati, the presence of uninvited Chinese officials, and a hug between leaders of two countries that were at odds earlier this year.

The unprecedented scrutiny of the four-day event that was wrapping up in Fiji's capital on Thursday came as the U.S., its ally Australia and China jostle for influence in the region. During a "retreat" portion of the forum on Thursday, forum attendees were due to engage in an all-day closed-door meeting. They had plenty to think about.

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