Sydney — Australia, the US and Japan plan to counter China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific by jointly investing in infrastructure projects in the region. Beijing has loaned countries across Asia billions of dollars as part of its Belt and Road development strategy, including to island nations in the Pacific, a region Canberra views as its backyard. The Australian government has expressed fear in recent months that some small Pacific nations might get trapped with unsustainable debts, handing Beijing influence. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the trilateral partnership, announced on Tuesday, would "mobilise investment in projects that drive economic growth, create opportunities, and foster a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific". "We share the belief that good investments stem from transparency, open competition, sustainability, adhering to robust global standards, employing the local workforce, and avoiding unsustainable debt burdens."

She said Australia’s fore...

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