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International relations

Tonga to ask China to write off $100m in debt

Prime minister calls on South Pacific neighbors to sign petition

Tonga's King Tupou VI, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in March.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The southern Pacific island state of Tonga will ask China to forgive its debt, and urge neighboring countries to sign a joint petition for the write-off.

Prime Minister Samiuela Akilisi Pohiva's decision was reported on Tuesday by local media outlets. The country, comprising 170 islands in the southern Pacific, owes more than $100 million to China -- around a third of its gross domestic product.

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