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International relations

Blinken kicks off ASEAN tour with China and Myanmar in focus

U.S. secretary of state visits Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand through Thursday

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport near Jakarta on Dec. 13.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken began his maiden tour of Southeast Asia on Monday, as Washington steps up its outreach to a region where China is also actively extending its influence.

Blinken has a slate of meetings with regional leaders lined up, during which he is expected to discuss relations with Beijing as well as other pressing issues such as Myanmar and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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