US VP Kamala Harris Vows ‘Enduring Engagement’ in Asia
US Vice President Kamala Harris met with top officials in Singapore on Monday, reaffirming Washington’s commitment to work with partners and allies.
Her visit comes against the backdrop of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover, which have raised questions about Washington’s credibility.
During a press conference alongside Singapore’s leader, the vice president repeatedly insisted that the US could be counted on.
“Our administration is committed to enduring engagement in Singapore, into Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific,” Harris told reporters.
“The reason I am here is because the United States is a global leader, and we take that role seriously,” she said.
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong welcomed her “reassurances on American intentions in the region, and in the world.”
Harris’ trip to Southeast Asia, which also includes a stop in Vietnam, aims to bolster ties with countries in the region seen as key in countering Chinese influence.
During a joint press conference with Lee, Harris said the US was focused on evacuation efforts taking place in Afghanistan. “But right now we are singularly focused on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who have worked with us, and Afghans who are vulnerable, including women and children, and that is our singular focus at this time,” said Harris.
Vice President Kamala Harris repeatedly insisted that the US could be counted on
Lee said Singapore would provide transport aircraft to help with evacuations.
Harris thanked him for the “generous offer,” which came after the US said it would draft commercial airlines to help with extra evacuation flights from Kabul’s airport on Sunday.
“We hope Afghanistan does not become an epicenter for terrorism again,” Lee said.
Harris Pledges Open South China Sea
Harris also reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to maintaining a rules-based international order and freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific.
The disputed South China Sea has become one of the many flashpoints in the testy US-China relationship.