US Vice President Kamala Harris’ arrival in Singapore on Sunday, in a trip aimed at establishing deeper ties with Southeast Asia, came upon the shadow of Afghanistan’s collapse which has left allies questioning the credibility of US foreign policy promises.
Harris, the second member of US President Joe Biden’s Cabinet to visit the Southeast Asian country, was welcomed by Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan at Seletar Airport.
During her trip, Harris will meet Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and deliver remarks on a US combat ship visiting Singapore. She will also hold a meeting to discuss supply chain issues with representatives from the private sector and government.
Harris’ trip aims to counter China’s growing influence in Southeast Asia, a region Washington considers key to checking Chinese expansion. A senior White House official told Reuters this month the vice president’s focus would be on defending international rules in the South China Sea, strengthening US regional leadership and expanding security cooperation.
Harris will become the first US vice president to visit Vietnam when she arrives there on Tuesday.