The United States will push for civil society and the media in Asia and the Pacific to counter China’s influence
The United States will push for civil society and the media in Asia and the Pacific to counter China’s influence

The United States will push for civil society and the media in Asia and the Pacific to counter China’s influence

The U.S. foreign aid agency has indicated it will pump more resources into civil society and free media across Asia and the Pacific, while intensifying efforts to push China’s influence back across the globe.

USAID’s senior adviser to China, Anka Lee, is in Canberra for talks with Australian officials as the agency develops a new strategy to compete with Beijing.

The Chinese government has plowed huge resources into infrastructure and major commercial projects in several parts of the world, including Southeast Asia and South Asia.

While the Biden administration has promised to meet this challenge and restore American influence, it has also opted out of several important trade agreements in the region, which could see its economic influence in Asia erode quickly.

But Mr Lee said aid and development were another crucial arena for strategic competition and that decisions made by donors such as the US and Australia could still shape the region in significant ways.

He said the United States and Australia needed to “step up” their development efforts in Asia and the Pacific, which he called “ground zero” in competition with China.

“The United States needs to be more present in the region and we want to work with our Australian allies and friends here to make sure we really offer what’s beneficial to our partners here,” he said.

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