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Xi’s Pacific Islands Tour Deepens China Clout Further South

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President Xi Jinping arrived in Fiji today as he seeks to broaden China’s economic and strategic clout in the South Pacific, building on trade ties that flourished after then-army chief Frank Bainimarama staged a coup almost eight years ago.

The Fiji trip -- the first state visit by a Chinese leader -- bookends Xi’s 11th foreign sojourn since he became president in March 2013, doling out billions of dollars to countries from Tanzania to Costa Rica and Sri Lanka. China seized the advantage when Fiji’s ties with neighbor Australia cooled after the putsch in December 2006, and total trade has since quadrupled.