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As leaders of Japan and Pacific island nations gather Friday to discuss their usual checklist for cooperation in dealing with disasters and climate change, one country is likely to be at the back of their minds: China.

Gathering for the seventh Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting in Fukushima Prefecture, Tokyo is keen to ramp up its presence in the resource-rich region, where it has been strongly involved since the late 1980s, Japanese officials said. The summit brings together Japan and the 16-member Pacific Islands Forum.

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