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The United States and China are locked in a race to develop a coronavirus vaccine as fears mount that the latter country would use its success in developing one as economic and diplomatic leverage.
As countries across the globe coordinate to create a vaccine for COVID-19, which has sickened more than 3.3 million people worldwide, the US and China have stuck with a nationalized approach.
'They know that whoever finds a workable vaccine right now basically rules the world,' a national security official told Politico on condition of anonymity.
The outlet published a report about the so-called vaccine war on Sunday, which describes how national security officials and public health experts are increasingly concerned about the prospect of China developing a vaccine first.
Doing so would not only prove invaluable for the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda efforts, but would also give the nation immense leverage in the global community, experts warn.
'Often, Chinese offers of aid come with strings attached,' Matt Kroenig, a former Pentagon and CIA official who recently released a book examining American power competition with China, told Politico.
'So they could use it as a way to try to increase their influence and further push out the US.'