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China Hosts Southeast Asian Ministers As It Competes With US

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FIEL - In this Nov. 13, 2018, file photo, a worker adjusts the Brunei Darussalam flag prior the 22nd ASEAN coordinating council meeting on the sidelines of the 33rd ASEAN summit in Singapore. China is hosting foreign ministers from 10 Southeast Asian nations amid heightened competition between Beijing and Washington for influence in the region. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)

(AP) — China is hosting foreign ministers from 10 Southeast Asian nations amid heightened competition between Beijing and Washington for influence in the region. Chinese state media say the meeting Tuesday in the city of Chongqing will cover issues ranging from restoring economic exchanges badly damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic to the feasibility of creating a “vaccine passport” to allow freer travel among them. Beijing has been building influence with the 10 countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, despite frictions with some over competing territorial claims in South China Sea. The U.S. has expressed concerns over China’s growing presence, with a visiting official last week urging Cambodia’s leadership to maintain an independent and balanced foreign policy.

 

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