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Beijing has applied to join an Asia-Pacific trade pact once pushed by the U.S. as a way to isolate China and solidify American dominance in the region.

According to a statement late Thursday in Beijing, China submitted the formal application letter to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to New Zealand — the depositary nation for the agreement. Commerce Minister Wang Wentao had a follow-up call with his counterpart Damien O’Connor of New Zealand after the applications submission.

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