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Australia has publicly asked the Solomon Islands to “consider not signing” its draft security deal with the Chinese government, ramping up pressure on the Pacific country to ditch the controversial agreement.

Australian Minister for the Pacific Zed Seselja made an unusual mid-election campaign visit to the Solomon Islands on Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare. He said he had conveyed Australia’s discomfort with the deal, which would see Chinese warships have a safe harbor in the region.

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