Harris pledges US leadership on a trip to Asia against China in the Indo-Pacific

US Vice President Kamala Harris reaffirmed US commitment to the Indo-Pacific on August 23 as Beijing continued its propaganda attacks on the US after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Harris spoke at a joint press conference after the meeting with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. She arrived in Singapore on Sunday and made a seven-day visit, including a trip to Vietnam. Harris also met with Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob.

“At the conference, I reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to working with allies and partners around the Indo-Pacific to support a rule-based international order and freedom of navigation, including the South China Sea,” Harris said.

The Chinese administration has adopted aggressive tactics to assert its claims in the conflicting South China Sea, despite a 2016 international ruling that rejected Beijing’s territorial claims. These tactics involve using their maritime militia and law enforcement agencies to force fishermen of other nationalities out of the disputed sea fishing grounds.

In July US Admiral Karl Schultz said China’s maritime action in the South China Sea “does not seem to agree with me how the world’s best Coast Guard should act, and how the world’s best Coast Guard should act.”

Singapore and Vietnam are major allies of the Biden administration as they set the agenda to oppose China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea. Singapore, which houses one of the busiest container ports in the world, also has US Navy logistics units. Vietnam, along with the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei, faces territorial disputes with China in the region.

“We are in Singapore, emphasizing and reaffirming our lasting relationship with the region and strengthening our common vision for the free and open Indo-Pacific region,” Harris added. I did.

Harris’s trip was at a crucial time for the Biden administration, given concerns about the future of Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the United States and how China could fill the void left by the United States and expand its influence in the region. come.

Since the withdrawal of the United States, Chinese state media has launched a propaganda attack that attacks the credibility of US leaders. The media took even more control of Harris’ visit and pushed for a promotional salvo that Beijing should be a better choice than Washington for Southeast Asian countries seeking partnerships.

For example, early on August 23, China’s hawkish state outlet Global Times published an editorial that Harris was “seen with suspicion” while traveling.She needs to “brach”[e] She herself to shamelessly defend the argument that the United States is still credible. “

In an editorial published on Sunday, Global Times said Harris’s visit had come to an “embarrassing time” and “the Biden administration needs to prove that its commitment to Southeast Asia is not as suddenly withdrawn as in Afghanistan.” Said.

Also at a press conference, reporters asked Harris if he was concerned about China’s propaganda and how the Biden administration would “repair” US credibility.

In response, she said the agreement with Lee Hsien Loong, including cooperation on cybersecurity and the global climate crisis, “is evidence of a lasting relationship between America’s strength and the world.”

“I believe the Indo-Pacific will largely determine the future of our world,” she added.

At a news conference, Prime Minister Lee said Singapore was “thankful” for US efforts to eradicate terrorism in Afghanistan.

“The important thing is how the United States relocates itself in the Asia-Pacific region, engages in the wider region, and continues to fight the war on terror. It is the United States’ global priority countries and their strategic intent. Because it determines recognition, “Lee added.

According to the statement, the US Department of Defense, along with US cyber security and infrastructure security agencies, has signed a separate memorandum of understanding with Singapore’s counterparts to enhance cyber cooperation and information sharing.

Harris is also expected to visit Singapore’s Changi Naval Base later on Monday to speak with overseas sailors of the littoral combat ship USS Tulsa.

Frank Fang

Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers news in China and Taiwan. He holds a master’s degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.