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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Clinton says Pacific big enough for US, China

AVARUA, Cook Islands — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the South Pacific was big enough for both the United States and China but urged the Asian power to ensure it distributes its growing aid fairly.

Clinton vowed that the United States would remain committed to the South Pacific "for the long haul" and offered new aid as she became the first US secretary of state to take part in an annual summit in the vast but sparsely populated region.

Her visit comes as several island states forge closer ties with China, which according to Australia's Lowy Institute has pledged more than $600 million in low-interest and mostly strings-free loans to the South Pacific since 2005.

Clinton, who will visit Beijing next week for talks on the often fractious relationship between the world's two largest economies, played down rivalries in the South Pacific during the summit in the tiny Cook Islands.

"We think it is important for the Pacific island nations to have good relationships with as many partners as possible and that includes China and the United States," Clinton told reporters. Read More