Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 0600 GMT, April 18

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WELLINGTON -- New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker announced Thursday that he will lead a delegation of business representatives to China next Monday to boost the economic relationship between China and New Zealand and attend the Belt and Road Forum.

The 2nd Belt and Road Forum will be held in late April in Beijing.

China-New Zealand trade continues to grow, and is now valued at more than 30 billion New Zealand dollars (20 billion U.S. dollars), Parker said in a statement. (New Zealand-Belt and Road)

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NEW DELHI -- The second phase of India's 17th general elections began on Thursday morning.

As many as 95 parliamentary constituencies are witnessing the polling, which started at 7:00 a.m. local time.

Fate of around 1,600 candidates would be sealed in the electronic voting machines (EVMs) in Thursday's phase of elections. There are as many as 157 million people who are registered as eligible voters to cast their votes during the day. (India-Elections)

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CANBERRA -- Australia's opposition leader has promised to invest 115 million Australian dollars (82.48 million U.S. dollars) in resolving indigenous health issues if he wins May's general election.

Bill Shorten, leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), announced the funding while on a campaign trail in Darwin on Thursday, saying that Australia's indigenous people "have the right to grow old," according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). (Australia-Opposition)

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HANOI -- Police of Vietnam's central Nghe An province have cracked down on a transnational drug trafficking ring, confiscating 700 kg of crystal methamphetamine, local media reported on Thursday.

The police arrested three members of the ring on Wednesday while they were dumping the drug on roadside in Nghe An's Quynh Luu district in a move to escape, detained another member later, and are hunting down the ringleader who is a foreigner, Vietnam News Agency reported. (Vietnam-Drugs) Enditem

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