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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

Nov 17, 2020 - World

Scoop: State Department to release Kennan-style paper on China

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The U.S. State Department's Office of Policy Planning is set to release a blueprint for America’s response to China’s rise as an authoritarian superpower, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The lengthy document calls for strong alliances and rejuvenation of constitutional democracy. Axios obtained a copy.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Key government agency says Biden transition can formally begin

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Alex Edelman/CNP/Getty Images

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday that she has determined the transition from the Trump administration can formally begin.

Why it matters: Murphy, a Trump appointee, had come under fire for delaying the so-called "ascertainment" and withholding the funds and information needed for the transition to begin while Trump's legal challenges played out.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries.
  2. Health: U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking recordsWhy we're numb to 250,000 deaths.
  3. World: England to impose stricter regional systemU.S. hotspots far outpacing Europe's — Portugal to ban domestic travel for national holidays.
  4. Economy: The biggest pandemic labor market drags.
  5. Sports: Coronavirus precautions leave college basketball schedule in flux.