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Japan, the United States, Australia and New Zealand are scrambling to respond to a newly signed security pact between the Solomon Islands and China that reportedly allows Chinese military fleets to make port calls in the tiny Pacific island nation.

The agreement represents a significant advance for Beijing in the Pacific, with the apparent terms of the deal enabling the stationing of Chinese military forces less than 2,000 kilometers from Australia in a country that has historically had close ties with Canberra.

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