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China's Xi Pledges Aid, Vaccines To Central Asia In Bid To Improve Ties.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged $500 million in aid over the next three years to the countries of Central Asia to bolster their economies and security.

Speaking during an online summit of leaders from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Beijing and the five former Soviet republics, XI said on January 25 that the funds will be used "on projects involving people’s livelihoods.”

The Chinese leader also pledged to provide 50 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to the group of five nations this year and said Beijing may transfer vaccine production technology.

China has been seeking closer ties with the region but has been cautious given that Moscow sees the former Soviet republics as part of its so-called sphere of influence.

With reporting by Xinhua, KazTAG, and Tengrinews

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