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Australia’s prime minister has outlined the country’s plans to increase investments in infrastructure in the South Pacific as China’s influence in those nations grows.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday also detailed plans for greater military and diplomatic engagement with Australia’s island neighbors who are increasing looking to China for aid through the country’s One Belt One Road infrastructure program.
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Morrison says Australia will establish the AU$2 billion Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific which will provide grant and long-term loans for investments in telecommunications, energy, transport and water infrastructure. Another AU$1 billion will be injected into Australia’s export credit agency.
Australian will also put diplomats in all 18 countries in the Pacific Islands Forum, with new embassies planned in Palau, Marshall Islands, French Polynesia, Nui and Cook Islands.