John Ruwitch

Judy Hoarfrost remembers the day she walked into China a half-century ago.

She was 15 and the youngest member of the U.S. pingpong team, which had been in Nagoya, Japan, competing in the World Championships. Two days before the tournament ended, Team China surprised the Americans with an invitation to come to their country and play some games.

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Before COVID-19, few scientists would have pegged the city of Wuhan, in temperate central China, as a likely starting point for a global coronavirus pandemic. Its climate and fauna don't fit the bill.

But the city of 11 million straddling the Yangtze River is home to some of China's most advanced biological research laboratories. And one of the secretive, state-run institutions, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, is known to conduct experiments on the kind of virus that has killed nearly 3 million people worldwide so far since late 2019.

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President Biden and the leaders of Australia, India and Japan launched a plan on Friday to boost COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution in Asia as the White House seeks to deepen coordination with partners around the world to counterbalance China.

The four countries, collectively known as the Quad, short for the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, also agreed to set up working groups to cooperate on vaccines, climate change and technology, including cybersecurity.

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President Biden will step up his efforts to counterbalance China through coordination with like-minded countries on Friday when he takes part in a first-of-its-kind summit with the leaders of Australia, India and Japan.

The four nations have cooperated on and off since the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 in an informal grouping known as the "Quad," short for the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

Updated at 1:50 p.m. ET Sunday

The Wyoming Republican Party voted Saturday to censure Rep. Liz Cheney and also asked her to resign for her vote last month to impeach then-President Donald Trump after the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

On Sunday, Cheney defended her decision.

The Biden administration is ending agreements with the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that the Trump administration said were meant to help drive down the number of migrants seeking asylum at the U.S. border.

The State Department announced on Saturday that it had suspended the so-called Asylum Cooperative Agreements, with immediate effect, and initiated the process to terminate them.

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The U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands sent a jubilant tweet on Monday, claiming to have "made some history today." He had welcomed Taiwan's de facto ambassador into the U.S. Embassy for a meeting.

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The Trump administration is imposing sharply tighter restrictions on travel to the United States by Chinese Communist Party members and their families, a move Beijing describes as part of a "deep-rooted Cold War mentality."

The restrictions target holders of business (B-1) and tourist (B-2) visas, reducing the travel documents' maximum validity to one month, down from the current maximum of 10 years.

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday, saying he hopes China and the United States can focus on cooperation and keep their differences in check, according to Chinese state media.

The message comes three weeks after the election, making Xi one of the last major world leaders to wish the former U.S. vice president well.

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LEILA FADEL, HOST:

One early November morning, a Peking duck cook, several construction workers and a software engineer patiently lined up outside a Beijing vaccine facility, awaiting their turn to be injected with a coronavirus vaccine still awaiting regulatory approval.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

In his victory speech last night, President-elect Joe Biden noted that U.S. elections are viewed far beyond our borders.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Two senior U.S. officials have visited Taiwan since August, one to discuss the pandemic and the other to attend a funeral.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Undersecretary of State Keith Krach were the highest-ranking U.S. officials to travel to Taiwan on business since 1979, when Washington cut relations with Taipei and recognized Beijing as the rightful government of China.

When the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona was in his 60s, a story came out that described a time when he was "physically mistreated by bad men who, for a while, kept [him] in prison." It was a reference to the five-and-a-half years he had spent in harsh captivity in Hanoi after his plane was shot down during the Vietnam War.

China has joined a global effort aimed at fair and equitable distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine once one becomes available — an effort the Trump administration has shunned.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility, known as COVAX, is jointly led by the World Health Organization and Gavi, an alliance promoting access to vaccines.

Taiwan is not pursuing formal diplomatic ties with the United States for now, but there is "a lot" of room to further strengthen relations, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in an interview after unprecedented visits by two senior U.S. officials.

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In recent weeks, U.S.-China relations have unraveled with alarming speed, and some analysts say they are now at their worst since the two countries normalized diplomatic ties in 1979.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration ordered China's consulate in Houston to close, a step that significantly amps up the tension in already fraught relations between the world's top two economies.

Before Justinian Huang left Shanghai for some beach time in Malaysia last winter, he took his dog Swagger to stay with a friend.

"I dropped him off. I kissed him goodbye. I was like, 'I'm going to see you in six days,' " Huang recounts. "That was Jan. 23 of this year."

That week the coronavirus spread with alarming speed in China. So Huang decided to wait it out in Malaysia a few extra days. Then he flew to Taiwan, where he has family, and finally home to the United States.

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The Trump administration on Thursday put visa and asset sanctions on several Chinese officials — including Politburo member Chen Quanguo — for what it says has been their role in "gross violations of human rights" in China's far western region of Xinjiang.

The move comes at a time when U.S.-China relations are at their worst in decades and is likely to anger Beijing, potentially leading to similar sanctions from China on American officials.

Attempts to dissuade China's ruling Communist Party from asserting more authority over Hong Kong didn't work. Now that China is imposing a new national security law on the territory, world powers are looking to punish Beijing.

The law hands the central government almost unchecked legal power in the former British colony, which was promised a "high degree of autonomy" for 50 years when it was returned to China in 1997. Drafted secretly and enacted swiftly on Tuesday, it is considered by many analysts to be even harsher than expected.

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