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The United States and the Marshall Islands agreed to try to reach a deal on U.S. economic assistance this year, a sign of momentum in talks as Washington worries about China’s expanding Pacific influence.

Joseph Yun, U.S. special envoy for Compact of Free Association (COFA) negotiations, was in the Marshall Islands this week for the first in-person talks with the strategic Pacific island country since December 2020. The next talks will be in Washington in late July.

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