US Counters China with New Aid for Five Countries in Southeast Asia

The U.S. government aims to take another bite out of Chinese influence in Southeast Asia with a partnership to aid five countries that traditionally tap Beijing for help, experts in the region say.

The Mekong-U.S. Partnership, formed September 11, will give Washington more clout in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam by offering aid for various projects ranging from COVID-19 relief to anti-drought measures.

U.S. officials hope the Southeast Asian partners will favor their largesse over China’s, analysts say. China aggressively builds infrastructure in Southeast Asia but threatens their water supplies with upstream dams and leaves some countries under the threat of debt, the experts say.

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