Australia ramps up Pacific spending amid China debate
Australia will create a multi-billion dollar fund for Pacific island nations to build infrastructure, in an apparent attempt to counter China's influence. Delivering a major policy speech, PM Scott Morrison said he aimed to restore the Pacific to the "front and centre" of Australia's foreign outlook. Australia will offer up to A$2bn (£1.11bn; $1.45bn) in grants and loans to strengthen ties, he said.
In Beijing, China's top diplomat said the two countries were "not rivals". After meeting Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne in Beijing, top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said the two countries should be co-operating in the Pacific.