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International relations

China looms large in East Timor 20 years after independence

By strengthening commercial ties, Beijing raises presence in western Pacific

DILI/BEIJING -- Chinese influence in East Timor, a Southeast Asian nation near northern Australia that marks the 20th anniversary of its independence Friday, is plain to see with just a walk through the capital city of Dili.

The country's largest mall prominently features advertising for China's Oppo -- the most popular smartphone brand there, according to a store employee. The shopping center also has an ethnic Chinese-owned supermarket with a wide selection of food imported from China.

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