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US-China Influence Rivalry Moves Into Beijing’s Backyard

As China spreads its influence across Asia with its Belt and Road infrastructure projects, the United States is striking back with a major development project right in China’s backyard: Mongolia.

U.S. Ambassador Michael Klecheski and Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh presided last month over the groundbreaking ceremony for a U.S.-funded water purification plant program. The $93 million program is part of a $350-million grant aimed at addressing a growing water shortage in the rapidly expanding Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar.

“Today marks a new chapter in the United States’ partnership with the people of Mongolia,” said Alexia Latortue, deputy chief of the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation, or MCC, the U.S. government agency providing the funding.

“Once operational, this purification plant will help … provide the critical water resources needed to support the everyday wellness and economic growth of Mongolians,”…

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