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Australia will set up a defense school to train Pacific island militaries, Canberra’s new Pacific minister has said, amid mounting competition for security ties in the region and as China lays plans for a rival meeting to next month’s Pacific Islands Forum.

Australia will double its funding for aerial surveillance of the Pacific islands vast fishing zone and provide financing for Pacific islands to build more resilient infrastructure as Pacific sea level rises are forecast to be four times the global average, Pat Conroy, minister for international development and Pacific, told a Pacific conference on Tuesday.

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