China pledges further COVID-19 aid to Southeast Asia

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BEIJING (AP) — China is pledging further assistance to Southeast Asian nations in battling the COVID-19 pandemic as it seeks to boost influence with the region where chief geopolitical rival the U.S. is also looking to strengthen ties. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his counterparts from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations that China had already delivered 100 million doses of vaccine to ASEAN nations along with other pandemic-fighting materials and technical help. Wang likened the challenge to earlier economic crises, the 2003 SARS outbreak and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, saying all were faced with “practical action arising from feelings of brotherly concern and the care of watchful neighbors.”

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