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She has had some wins with Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Also, Australia assisted with the rapprochement at the Pacific Islands Forum, which has emerged reinvigorated after the stress test of the past year, when one-third of the members threatened to leave. This was averted with a special meeting in Suva on June 7, with Micronesian leaders transported to it on Australian planes.

The biggest win so far, for which Wong can take some credit, was for her work in advance of the Pacific Islands Forum meeting on May 30. Here, the ten nations that recognise China did not collectively sign on to become “China-Pacific Island countries”. (Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuleo rallied the region with a stirring letter that instantly became a classic text.

A whirlwind multi-nation visit by Wang before and after the May 30 meeting added inducements for working more closely with China through numerous bilateral agreements.

Wang spent the most time on his trip in the Solomon Islands. The effect of his effusive welcome by Sogavare, encapsulated in the photograph of the pair linking arms, denoted the “iron-clad” ties the two leaders were cementing between their nations.

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