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Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Mark Schiefelbein / AP

Mood music, 22 days from Trump's Mar-a-Lago summit with China President Xi Jinping ("the world's two most powerful men"). What to watch:

  • South China Sea: Satellite images show that China's begun new work on the disputed Island, a sign that Beijing is continuing to strengthen its military reach, per Reuters.
  • Taiwan: The self-governed island says that the Chinese military threat in the region has grown, and the U.S. regional strategy is "unclear," per Reuters.
  • Choose your news (both from same presser): CNBC reported that China is urging cooperation with the U.S. ahead of Trump-Xi summit," while The Guardian reported that China Premier Li Keqiang has warned Trump against a trade war with China.
  • Bob Lighthizer: Trump's nominee for U.S. trade representative vowed at his confirmation hearing "to crack down" on unfair China practices, and said Trump is committed to getting tough with Beijing," per FT.

Go deeper

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.

The deplatforming fight shifts to the courts

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Capitol riot and tech firms' sweeping attempt in its wake to dislodge the online far right are kicking up efforts to have the courts settle knotty questions about online speech and power.

Why it matters: Legal battles could force the people angry at Big Tech to bring more rigor to arguments that have often devolved into messy sideshows.

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