John Ruwitch | KGOU
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John Ruwitch

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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.

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Updated on Thursday at 11:45 a.m. ET

President Biden said he spoke for "two straight hours" with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday night — an opening conversation that provided insight about how the new administration plans to tackle the vast economic and security challenges posed by Beijing.

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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NPR China correspondent John Ruwitch has this report.

JOHN RUWITCH, BYLINE: Wang Hao is a writer and commentator in Taiwan who had been hopeful that Donald Trump would be reelected as U.S. president.

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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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More than 50 people were arrested in Hong Kong in morning raids yesterday. It is the biggest roundup of pro-democracy activists and politicians since a new national security law was introduced last summer. NPR China correspondent John Ruwitch looks at what's behind this latest move.

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