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China seeks security deals with Pacific Island countries

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China’s foreign minister is jetting off on a blitz of Pacific Island nations

China is seeking security deals with almost a dozen Pacific Island countries according to fresh reports from Reuters.

The deals will focus on policing, security and data communication.

Reuters reports the nation’s foreign minister, Wang Yi is set to host a meeting in Fiji next week.

One of the nations on China’s list has reportedly voiced concerns saying their intent to control the region “threatens stability”.

David Panuelo, the President from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) fears this could lead to a new “Cold War” between China and the West.

Yi will visit eight Pacific island nations that China has diplomatic ties with.

It comes as the nation secured a deal with the Solomon Islands, which drew condemnation from Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Allan Behm from the Australian Institute says “to spend over a week with small island states in the Pacific is a very big investment of China’s diplomatic capital.”

“It’s a dramatic move for China to take.”

Behm says these visits also make people nervous about the future.

“It looks a bit to me like video game diplomacy, a kind of gotcha moment where the size of the visit, that is the length of it, and the surprise of the visit, come together to make people feel a bit nervous about what it’s all for.”

AlLan behm

Meanwhile, Australia’s Foreign Minister will travel to Fiji today to counter China’s influence in the region. 

The country’s newly elected Prime Minister says Australia is an obvious partner for these island nations.

But China says the Solomon’s pact focuses on domestic policing and that any criticism was interference in their decision-making.

In Washington, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said he was aware of the plans.

Foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the plans.

World

North Korea fires short-range ballistic missile

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The launch continues a provocative streak in weapons testing as a US aircraft carrier visits South Korea

The launch was detected by South Korean and US militaries, who are currently conducting their annual joint military exercises in the region.

The US aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is also taking part in the exercises, in a show of force against North Korea’s continued nuclear and missile testing.

North Korea's push to improve the lives of citizens

North Korea’s push to improve the lives of citizens

North Korea has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests in recent months, despite international condemnation and UN sanctions.

The latest launch comes just days after North Korea test-fired a new type of anti-aircraft missile, and as the US prepares to deploy its THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea.

The US has also sent a naval strike group to the region in a show of force, and is reportedly considering additional sanctions against North Korea.

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Super Typhoon Noru smashes into the Philippines

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Super Typhoon Noru is continuing to strengthen as it approaches the northern Philippines.

The storm is expected to make landfall late Sunday afternoon local time and could bring damaging winds and heavy rains to the region.

Noru is currently a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 km/h).

The typhoon is expected to bring heavy rains and strong winds to the Philippines, which could lead to significant damage.

If you are in the path of Super Typhoon Noru, be sure to take all necessary precautions to protect yourself and your property from the storm.

Stay tuned to local news and weather reports for the latest information on the typhoon’s path and expected impacts.

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Iran cuts internet access over “hijab violation”

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Iranian authorities say they will restrict internet access in the country until calm is restored to the streets

Protests over the death of a young woman in the custody of the morality police continue to rock the Islamic Republic.

Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets in protest since the death last week of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was apprehended in Tehran and taken to a “re-education center,” apparently for not wearing her hijab properly.

Amini’s death has sparked outrage among Iranian women, who have long been subject to repressive rules mandating their dress and behavior.

In recent years, the government has stepped up its enforcement of these rules, with morality police attacking women for offenses such as wearing loose headscarves or talking to men in public.

The death of Amini, who was reportedly beaten in custody, has galvanized young Iranians who are fed up with the repression they have faced for their entire lives.

In addition to taking to the streets, they are using social media to spread the word about the protests and to call for an end to the government’s oppressive policies.

It remains to be seen whether the current wave of protests will lead to lasting change in Iran. But one thing is clear: the country’s young people are no longer willing to tolerate the status quo.

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