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Kamala Harris says U.S. focus on Afghan evacuations, pledges open South China Sea

EconomyAug 23, 2021 06:42AM ET
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6/6 © Reuters. U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris arrives in Singapore, August 22, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY 2/6

By Nandita Bose

SINGAPORE (Reuters) -U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said on Monday during a visit to Singapore that the United States was focusing on evacuation efforts taking place in Afghanistan and that there would be plenty of time to analyse the context of the troop withdrawal.

Harris met with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Halimah Yacob during a trip aimed at bolstering ties with partners in the region as part of Washington's efforts to counter China's growing economic and security influence.

"There is going to be plenty of time to analyse what has happened and what has taken place in the context of the withdrawal from Afghanistan," Harris said during a joint news conference with Singapore's prime minister.

"But right now we are singularly focused on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who have worked with us and Afghans who are vulnerable, including women and children and that is our singular focus at this time," said Harris.

U.S. President Joe Biden has faced criticism at home and abroad over his handling of the withdrawal of U.S. forces and the chaotic evacuation after the lightning takeover by the Taliban.

"We hope Afghanistan does not become an epicentre for terrorism again," said Lee, adding that Singapore had offered transport aircraft to help with evacuations.

Part of Harris's task during the trip will be convincing leaders in Singapore and Vietnam that Washington's commitment to Southeast Asia is firm and not a parallel to Afghanistan.

"Today, we are in Singapore to stress and reaffirm our enduring relationship to this country and in this region, and to reinforce a shared vision of a free and open Indo Pacific region," Harris said.

Singapore's Lee said that perceptions of U.S. resolve and commitment to the region would be determined by "what the U.S. does going forward, how it repositions itself in the region, how it engages its broad range of friends and partners and allies..."

Singapore is not a U.S. treaty ally, but remains one of its strongest security partners in the region with deep trade ties. However, it also seeks to balance its relationships with the United States and China by not taking sides.

The country is home to the biggest port in Southeast Asia, and supports continued free navigation in the area, where China is growing increasingly assertive - a concern U.S. officials plan to address during Harris' visit to the region, which also includes a trip to Vietnam.

"I reaffirmed in our meeting the United States' commitment to working with our allies and partners around the Indo Pacific to uphold the rules based international order, and freedom of navigation, including in the South China Sea," said Harris.

The disputed South China Sea, a strategic waterway with potential oil and gas riches, has competing claims by China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

SECURITY, CYBER AGREEMENTS

The United States and Singapore reached security agreements on Monday that reaffirm America's presence in the region through "rotational deployments of U.S. P-8 aircraft and littoral combat ships to Singapore," according to a fact sheet of the meeting shared by the White House.

The United States and Singapore also agreed to expand cybersecurity cooperation in the financial sector, the military and enhance information exchange on cyber threats, according to details shared by the White House.

Cybersecurity has risen to the top of the agenda for the Biden administration after a series of high-profile attacks https://reut.rs/381vyis that affected fuel and food supplies in parts of the United States.

Other initiatives include starting a U.S.-Singapore dialogue on building supply chains.

The Biden White House is tackling a severe supply shortage of semiconductor chips in the United States that has seriously hurt car manufacturers and contributed to inflation.

The countries also struck a partnership to fight COVID-19 and prepare for the next pandemic and agreed to tackle the global climate crisis, promote smart cities and green building standards throughout ASEAN.

Harris will also visit Singapore's Changi Naval Base and tour the USS Tulsa combat ship during the trip to Singapore.

Kamala Harris says U.S. focus on Afghan evacuations, pledges open South China Sea
 

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Comments (29)
Eudon Hickey
Eudon Hickey Aug 23, 2021 6:54AM ET
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Harris tried to convince Lee that Singapore covid approach is wrong(treat covid like a mild flu and provide proper treatment- which actually works)
Lim Mag St
Lim Mag St Aug 23, 2021 4:50AM ET
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Lost in Transit, get back to yr Indian Ocean
Gustavo Lopez
Gustavo Lopez Aug 23, 2021 3:11AM ET
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How can we bring trump back? Serious question.
David David
David9 Aug 23, 2021 3:11AM ET
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Trump has messed up so badly that there is zero chance he can ever be in office again... at least not in this life time...
Eudon Hickey
Eudon Hickey Aug 23, 2021 3:11AM ET
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How did he mess up David. Give me an example?
David David
David9 Aug 23, 2021 3:04AM ET
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The title is propaganda... there is zero chance we can get Singapore to take sides. Singapore is smart to be neutral.
Necleus Electron
Necleus Electron Aug 23, 2021 2:55AM ET
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She can forget about forging ties with other nations for her future presidential campaign, i will definitely NOT vote for her!
Necleus Electron
Necleus Electron Aug 23, 2021 2:54AM ET
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Definitely evil plans in the hatching. evil meeting the evil.
Benoit Avril
Benoit Avril Aug 23, 2021 2:11AM ET
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The level of hate around here is pretty impressive.
Vitality life
Vitality life Aug 23, 2021 1:39AM ET
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Tr/ash !!! Embarass
Justin Riley
Justin Riley Aug 23, 2021 1:39AM ET
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And these people are supposed to be the adults? What a joke, go back to the faculty lounge. Elitist education and class does not equal success. Ever heard of street smarts? Yeah these people have none.
Vitality life
Vitality life Aug 23, 2021 1:39AM ET
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William Smith
William Smith Aug 23, 2021 12:49AM ET
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What a joke. On a 1-1,000,000 scale she is countering China's influence at ZERO.
Necleus Electron
Necleus Electron Aug 23, 2021 12:02AM ET
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evil
Mark Stallone
Mark Stallone Aug 22, 2021 11:38PM ET
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Seems like good timing. lol.
Rambi Zambi
Rambi Zambi Aug 22, 2021 11:38PM ET
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Lol
Jack Bquick
Jack Bquick Aug 22, 2021 10:36PM ET
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Worthless
king michael
king michael Aug 22, 2021 9:46PM ET
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Hope she will sell herself to exchange for .....
Lake Lot
Lake Lot Aug 22, 2021 9:46PM ET
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Not much to sell ! If your a nickel , lucky to get 5 cents .
Yankee Steve
Yankee Steve Aug 22, 2021 9:36PM ET
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She is a carpet beggar
Lake Lot
Lake Lot Aug 22, 2021 9:36PM ET
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Floor ********
John Hat
John Hat Aug 22, 2021 9:16PM ET
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While the Middle East is burning under their watch, they go to Asia. You can't make this stuff up. Democrats wanted this.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Aug 22, 2021 9:01PM ET
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She needed something easy after she failed to accomplish anything with the border crisis.
Bill Melton
Bill Melton Aug 22, 2021 8:28PM ET
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Obviously Biden doesn't think the situation in Afghanistan is bad. He is on vacation and Kamala is in Singapore. Leaders lead, not go home or other parts of the world. Oh yea, Kamala hasn't been to Europe, too. SMH
matt foley
matt foley Aug 22, 2021 8:19PM ET
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Go to kabul and tell us its safe
Darryl Allen
Darryl Allen Aug 22, 2021 7:37PM ET
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Why did they leave our weapons and armor for the Taliban just like they did with ISIS in Iraq? On purpose?
Bernard Tan
Bernard Tan Aug 22, 2021 7:37PM ET
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Coz who cares? Army thought Talibans are computer illiterates! LOL ……
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Aug 22, 2021 7:32PM ET
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Must be a joke. Singapore leaders r all Chinese.
palmer gossett
palmer gossett Aug 22, 2021 7:32PM ET
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I will say this. There is no excuse for this administration's constant failures. This mess in Afghanistan, our open borders, and the list goes on. And for those in other countries condemning the United States. Look deep into your own history, and I can assure you that you're dirtier than you know
milena villa escobar
milena villa escobar Aug 22, 2021 7:32PM ET
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Trump was right about EVERYTHING
palmer gossett
palmer gossett Aug 22, 2021 7:32PM ET
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milena villa escobar yes, Trumps insight is incredible
Jack Zhang
Jack_A Aug 22, 2021 7:32PM ET
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Trump started all the mess, from covid to afghan withdrawal.
Erski Gumby
SB20 Aug 22, 2021 7:32PM ET
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Sean Livingstone
Sean Livingstone Aug 22, 2021 7:28PM ET
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As a Singaporean, I've seen this American blame game while growing up... Remember you called Lee Kuan Yew a dictator? And Singapore a dictatorship? Remember CIA tried to bribe Singapore officials? What has changed? Nah, America is always the same.. Vietnam, then Afghanistan, media trick the whole population, politicians blame other countries, in fact, the virus is from the USA. We all see through these tricks. Lol.
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Aug 22, 2021 7:28PM ET
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How's Beijing today "Sean"?
Sean Livingstone
Sean Livingstone Aug 22, 2021 7:28PM ET
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Silence Dogood How much did cia pay you?
palmer gossett
palmer gossett Aug 22, 2021 7:26PM ET
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Democrat leaders don't care about "you"! All they care about is your vote. The same can be said for Republicans. It's all about a power grab and they use us, the voters, pit us against one another. And our media is their tool to do it. And we're all falling for it. Shame on us!!
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Aug 22, 2021 7:26PM ET
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who's we? You're Chinese.
Miles Mathewson
Miles Mathewson Aug 22, 2021 7:19PM ET
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This administration is a shame for the US. Impeach it now!
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Aug 22, 2021 7:18PM ET
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I don’t recall Asia calling for evening entertainment..
 
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