U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris reaffirmed the U.S. dedication to the Indo-Pacific on Aug. 23, as Beijing continued its propaganda assault in opposition to the USA following the tumultuous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Harris made the remarks in a joint press convention with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong following their assembly. She arrived in Singapore on Sunday for a seven-day go to that will even embrace a visit to Vietnam. Harris additionally met with Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob.
“I reaffirmed in our assembly the USA’ dedication to working with our allies and companions across the Indo-Pacific to uphold the rules-based worldwide order, and freedom of navigation, together with within the South China Sea,” Harris mentioned.
The Chinese language regime has adopted aggressive techniques to stake its claims within the disputed South China Sea, regardless of a 2016 worldwide ruling that rejected Beijing’s territorial assertion. These techniques have concerned utilizing its maritime militia and legislation enforcement vessels to forcibly drive away fishermen of different nationalities from fishing grounds within the disputed sea.
In July, U.S. Adm. Karl Schultz said China’s maritime conduct within the South China Sea “doesn’t appear constant to me with how the world’s finest coast guards ought to function and the way the world’s finest coast guards ought to act.”
Singapore and Vietnam are key allies for the Biden administration because it units out its agenda to push again in opposition to China’s aggressive conduct within the South China Sea. Singapore, housing one of many busiest container ports on the earth, can also be house to a U.S. Navy logistical command unit. Vietnam, together with the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei, faces territorial disputes with China within the space.
“We’re in Singapore to emphasize and reaffirm our enduring relationship to this nation and on this area, and to strengthen a shared imaginative and prescient of a free and open Indo-Pacific area,” Harris added.
Harris’s journey comes at a pivotal time for the Biden administration, given considerations about the way forward for Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal, and the way China may fill the vacuum left by the USA and develop its affect within the area.
Because the U.S. withdrawal, China’s state-run media have launched a propaganda offensive attacking the credibility of U.S. management. The media have additional seized on Harris’s go to, pushing ahead a propaganda salvo that Beijing needs to be the higher alternative over Washington for Southeast Asian nations in search of partnerships.
For instance, within the early hours of Aug. 23, China’s hawkish state-run outlet International Occasions printed an editorial saying that Harris “can be considered with suspicion” throughout her journey. She would want to “brac[e] herself to shamelessly defend the argument that the U.S. continues to be reliable.”
In an op-ed printed on Sunday, International Occasions said that Harris’s go to got here at an “embarrassing time” and the “Biden administration must show that its dedication to Southeast Asia won’t be withdrawn instantly because it did in Afghanistan.”
Additionally through the press convention, a reporter requested Harris whether or not she was involved about China’s propaganda and the way the Biden administration would “restore” U.S. credibility.
In response, she mentioned that agreements she had reached with Lee Hsien Loong, together with cooperation on cybersecurity and the worldwide local weather disaster, “are proof of America’s power and enduring relationships across the globe.”
“The Indo-Pacific will largely, I imagine, dictate the way forward for our world,” she added.
Lee mentioned Singapore was “grateful” to the U.S. efforts in rooting out terrorism in Afghanistan through the press convention.
“What issues is how the U.S. repositions itself within the Asia Pacific, engages the broader area, and continues to struggle in opposition to terrorism, as a result of that may decide the perceptions of the international locations of the U.S. world priorities and of its strategic intentions,” Lee added.
In accordance with a press release, the U.S. Departments of Protection and Treasury, together with the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Safety Company, have signed separate memorandums of understanding with their Singaporean counterparts to reinforce cyber cooperation and knowledge sharing.
Harris will even go to Singapore’s Changi Naval Base later Monday, the place she is predicted to talk to sailors overseas USS Tulsa, a littoral fight ship.