Harris Rebukes China In Main Speech On Indo-Pacific : NPR


US Vice President Kamala Harris will give a speech at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore before setting off for the second leg of her Southeast Asia trip to Vietnam on Tuesday, August 24, 2021. Evelyn Hockstein / AP Hide caption

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Evelyn Hockstein / AP

US Vice President Kamala Harris will give a speech at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore before setting off for the second leg of her Southeast Asia trip to Vietnam on Tuesday, August 24, 2021.

Evelyn Hockstein / AP

SINGAPORE (AP) – US Vice President Kamala Harris has reprimanded China for its incursions into the South China Sea, warned its actions there as “coercion” and “intimidation” and assured that the US will support its allies in the region against Beijing’s advances .

“We know Beijing continues to enforce, intimidate and claim most of the South China Sea,” she said in a major foreign policy speech in Singapore on Tuesday in which she shared the Biden government’s vision for the Indian government set out. Pacific. “Beijing’s actions continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten the sovereignty of nations.”

Harris, who is on a week-long tour of Southeast Asia, said the US “stands by our allies and partners” in the face of threats from China.

The speech aimed to cement US commitment to support its allies in an area that is of growing importance to the Biden administration, which has made combating China’s global influence a core part of its foreign policy. And it did so at a critical moment for the United States as the Biden administration seeks to further consolidate its focus on Asia as America’s decades of focus on the Middle East come to a chaotic end with the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Harris underscored this shift, calling the Indo-Pacific “vital to the security and prosperity of our nation”. She said that while the US is focused on completing its engagement in Afghanistan by evacuating as many people as possible, it is imperative that, in managing developments in one region, we share our interests in other regions, including in this region. “

Her accusation against Beijing was her harshest statement to date about the US enemy. And China struck back. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, citing a question on Harris’ comments on Afghanistan, said the chaotic withdrawal from Kabul shows the US has lost credibility. He accused the US of “slandering, suppressing, coercing and harassing other countries at will in order to get America first without paying any price”.

“That is the order the US wants. The US always tries to use the rules and the order to justify its own selfish, harassing and hegemonic behavior, but who still believes that now?” Wang said.

Harris emphasized in her remarks that the US is striving for greater engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, not only to counteract China, but to promote an “optimistic vision that we have for our participation and partnership in the region”. Out of consideration for Singapore’s determined neutrality in the dispute between the US and China, Harris also reiterated that the US would not try to “let anyone choose between countries”.

In a speech in a country that serves as the anchor of the US Navy’s presence in Southeast Asia, Harris emphasized the importance of the region for US defense. She also emphasized the significant US economic ties there, noting that Southeast Asia was America’s fourth largest export market.

On Monday, Harris told sailors aboard a US warship at the Changi Naval Base in Singapore that “a large part of the story of the 21st

“It is in our vital interests to stand together with our allies and partners in Southeast Asia to defend a free and open Indo-Pacific,” she said.

Harris also met with Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday. The Vice President’s Office announced a series of agreements from that meeting aimed at tackling cyber threats, tackling climate change, tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and alleviating supply chain problems.

Following her speech on Tuesday, Harris held a round table discussion with business leaders on supply chain issues. She later planned to travel to Vietnam, where she will meet with top officials on Wednesday.

President Joe Biden himself has repeatedly emphasized his focus on China as one of America’s main opponents. In recent months, his administration has stepped up operations in the Indo-Pacific region, with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman both visiting the region in the spring and summer. Foreign Minister Antony Blinken also held a series of virtual meetings with Southeast Asian officials earlier this month.

However, the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan complicated this message of support to the region and raised questions about US engagement with its allies. While Biden said last week that an indefinite engagement would benefit “true strategic competitors” China and Russia, China has picked up the images of violence from the evacuation to condemn the US for its involvement there.

However, Harris said during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Lee Monday that her presence in the country, combined with the increased cooperation agreements the Biden government has made with the Indo-Pacific countries, “speaks volumes for integrity.” Relations that the United States has around the world on many subjects. “