As China moves to expand its influence in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan and New Zealand have opened talks on an agreement for “seamless” sharing of classified information, a step that could strengthen Tokyo’s case to eventually join the “Five Eyes” intelligence partnership among English-speaking powers.

An announcement of the negotiations, during a visit to Tokyo on Thursday by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, came two days after the Solomon Islands said it had reached a security agreement with China, provoking unease among Western-aligned powers in the region. The deal, according to a leaked document, could allow Beijing to deploy troops to the Solomons, and perhaps even result in the first Chinese military base in the Pacific.

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