A visit marks US’s return to Southeast Asia

(VOVWORLD) - After visiting Singapore from Sunday to Tuesday, US Vice President Kamala Harris departs for a three-day visit to Vietnam starting today. This is her first overseas trip as Vice President, illustrating the US’s long-term commitment to multifaceted cooperation with Southeast Asia.

A visit marks US’s return to Southeast Asia - ảnh 1US Vice President Kamala Harris arrives in Singapore (photo: AP)

Vice President Harris’s trip follows soon after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s visits to Singapore, Vietnam, and Philippines in late July. These senior visits to Vietnam and Singapore reflect the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and a prosperous and secure Southeast Asia.

Reaffirming the importance of Southeast Asia in the US’s Indo-Pacific policy

Since taking office, President Joe Biden has made the Indo-Pacific one of his top priorities. A white paper titled ‘Interim National Security Strategic Guidance’ states the Biden administration’s aim to deepen ties with India as a part of its strategy and work alongside New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, and other ASEAN countries to advance shared objectives. Singapore is the US’s closest ally in the region, while Vietnam is a security partner and the US’s biggest trade partner in Southeast Asia.

In Singapore, Ms. Harris met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and attended a joint press conference where she reaffirmed the US’s shared commitment with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific to maintain rules-based international order in the region and freedom of maritime navigation, particularly in the South China Sea. Her statement outlined the Biden administration's vision for the region.

In Vietnam, Harris will engage Vietnamese leaders, including Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, on issues of mutual interest, including the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and regional economic and security cooperation.

Vietnam, US share common interests

Since taking office early this year, President Joe Biden has paid close attention to Southeast Asia and Vietnam in particular. Vietnam is one of the 7 countries who have received the most vaccines from the US.

During Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s visit, the US pledged to donate 77 ultra-low temperature freezers to store COVID-19 vaccines. Vice President Harris will attend the inauguration of a US CDC office in Hanoi, a highlight of the community healthcare cooperation between the two countries in recent years.

Trade will be another focus of Ms. Harris’s Vietnam visit. Vietnam has become an important part of the global supply chain and the US’s 13th biggest trade partner. Vietnam’s export turnover to the US has grown despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Vietnam has benefited from global supply chain shifts. Foreign investors have moved their production to Vietnam. At the same time, the pandemic has disrupted the supply chain, particularly of machines and tech. Ms. Harris’s visit will seek solutions to this issue.

With Harris’s visits to Singapore and Vietnam, the Biden administration is keeping its promise to enhance cooperation with its partners to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, recover the economy, and address climate change.

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