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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

China is using economic and diplomatic incentives to strengthen its sway over Pacific Island nations, a new report finds.

Why it matters: Beijing's charm campaign in the Pacific aims to further isolate Taiwan and expand China's maritime reach.

Details: The report from open source intelligence firm Babel Street finds China is offering generous aid and infrastructure packages to island nations across the Pacific.

  • Some of these projects, such as a major wharf project in Vanuatu, could potentially have dual military-civilian use, creating the potential of expanded reach of the People's Liberation Army Navy.
  • Another goal is to squeeze Taiwan. Four of Taiwan's 15 remaining diplomatic allies are Pacific Island nations. Prior to September 2019, there were six, but Beijing poached two of them — Kiribati and the Solomon Islands. That leaves Nauru, Palau, the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.

What they're saying: "While leaders in these countries see strategic benefit and leverage through deepening relations with the PRC, they must also consider what China hopes to gain through their engagement because the actions on these small islands could have outsized effects," write the report's authors.

Go deeper: Read the report.

Go deeper

AAPI leaders praise order on discrimination but say Biden needs to do more to "prioritize" community

President Biden on the left. Rep. Judy Chu on the right. Photos: Doug Mills-Pool (left) and Paul Morigi/WireImage for The Recording Academy (right) via Getty

Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) lawmakers, community organizers and advocacy groups commended President Biden's Tuesday order directing an examination of anti-Asian bias and discrimination, but pushed the administration to commit to stronger action.

Why it matters: Anti-Asian hate crimes have surged since the pandemic began, reaching more than 2,500 in August according to Stop AAPI Hate, an initiative that tracks anti-AAPI racism.

Jan 26, 2021 - World

Former Google CEO and others call for U.S.-China tech "bifurcation"

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new set of proposals by a group of influential D.C. insiders and tech industry practitioners calling for a degree of "bifurcation" in the U.S. and Chinese tech sectors is circulating in the Biden administration. Axios has obtained a copy.

Why it matters: The idea of "decoupling" certain sectors of the U.S. and Chinese economies felt radical three years ago, when Trump's trade war brought the term into common parlance. But now the strategy has growing bipartisan and even industry support.

12 mins ago - Health

Transplants rebound from COVID lull

Expand chart
Data: United Network for Organ Sharing; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

More than 41,000 Americans underwent an organ transplant in 2021, a new record and a 6% increase from 2020, when the pandemic caused a slight slowdown of the life-saving procedures.

Why it matters: There are more transplant patients than ever, and they are particularly vulnerable to the worst effects of COVID because of their compromised immune systems — although vaccines provide important protection.