Vice President Kamala Harris called on Vietnam to support the United States’ efforts to combat China’s “bullying” in the South China Sea on August 25, the day after it outlined the Biden administration’s foreign policy towards the Indo-Pacific region. Singapore.
Harris also announced the donation of a new COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam as a clear effort to counter China’s vaccine diplomacy.
“We need to frankly find a way to put pressure on Beijing and increase pressure to comply with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and challenge its bullying and excessive maritime claims,” Harris said. Said at the beginning of the meeting. With Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the Vietnamese President’s residence in Hanoi.
Harris added that the United States would “maintain a strong presence in the South China Sea” to confront China.
Harris is currently at the second stop on his trip to Asia after completing a three-day visit to Singapore before arriving in Vietnam late Tuesday night. She will leave Vietnam on August 26th. She also met with Vietnam’s Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan on Wednesday.
She also criticized China’s maritime actions in a speech in Singapore, stating that China’s actions corresponded to “coercion” and “threatening.” These actions “weaken the rule-based order and threaten the sovereignty of the state,” she added.
Beijing has taken aggressive tactics to assert its claims in the South China Sea, even though the 2016 international arbitration ruling invalidated China’s territorial claims. These tactics include sending maritime militia and law enforcement vessels to prevent fishermen from other countries from accessing fishing grounds in conflict areas, and sending research and survey vessels to the exclusive economic zone of neighboring countries. It will be.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam all face territorial disputes with China in conflict areas.
Chinese administration propaganda
Harris’s trip to Asia comes when China’s communist regime is actively challenging US leadership around the world. The administration recently launched a promotional campaign to undermine the credibility of the United States as a credible ally and partner, based on the turbulent withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan.
In an editorial published on August 24, the state-owned China Daily accused Washington of considering its partners as “consumables.” The article also accuses Harris of making a “groundless attack” on China in a speech in Singapore, and that she “tried to drive a wedge” between Beijing and Southeast Asian counties. bottom.
Meanwhile, China is trying to leverage COVID-19 vaccine diplomacy to gain geopolitical influence, despite concerns about the effectiveness of China’s vaccine. According to Beijing-based research firm Bridge Consulting, about 70% of China’s vaccine donations go to Asia-Pacific countries.
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chin met with China’s Vietnamese ambassador before Harris arrived in Hanoi on Tuesday, during which Beijing said it would donate 2 million COVID-19 vaccines to Hanoi. Mr Chin also told the Chinese ambassador that Hanoi would not work with one country to another.
Also, according to Vietnam’s media, on Tuesday, Vietnam’s Ministry of Defense received 200,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine from its Chinese counterpart. Both Sinopharm and Sinovac are manufactured by Chinese vaccine manufacturers.
Harris announced during a meeting with Chin on Wednesday that the United States would donate an additional million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to Vietnam. According to the US Embassy in Hanoi, US vaccines will arrive within a day, half to Hanoi and the other half to Ho Chi Minh City. The new donation brings the total number of US vaccine donations to Vietnam to 6 million.
Vietnam has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world. As of Tuesday, only 1.9 percent of Vietnam’s population has been fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.
New CDC office
Meanwhile, Vietnam was hit hard by a delta variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the new coronavirus, after a series of infectious diseases associated with the Ho Chi Minh City church. On Tuesday, Vietnamese health officials reported 10,811 new cases of infection, bringing the national total to 369,367.
The United States will also provide Vietnam with $ 23 million in aid to help Hanoi fight COVID-19, expand vaccine distribution and access, and prepare for future illness threats.
Harris also announced the launch of a new regional office for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hanoi’s new Southeast Asia office will be one of four CDC regional offices worldwide.
“Through this office, we will work closely with our local partners to share strategies and strengthen each other’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to current and future threats of infectious diseases,” said US Health. Social Welfare Secretary Xavier Becerra said. In the statement.
Harris will also attend a health security event with the Health Minister of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.