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China Encroaches on Australia's Backyard

Apr 23, 2019 | 10:30 GMT
One of Fiji's many islands. Fiji is one of the four independent countries that make up the Melanesian subregion of the Pacific Islands. The other three include Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
Melanesia is one of three subregions of the Pacific Islands, along with Micronesia and Polynesia. In addition to Australian and French holdings, the subregion is home to four independent countries: Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. 
(TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

On the world stage, Australia is a middle power at best. But in the Pacific Islands, Australia is almost a superpower -- serving as a major source of aid, a hungry market and a stalwart defense ally for these tiny nations. This is especially true in the subregion of Melanesia,...

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