US vice president arrives in Singapore on Southeast Asia tour

Bangkok, Aug 22 (EFE).- The vice president of the United States arrived in Singapore on Saturday, kicking off a five-day tour of Southeast Asia with the aim of strengthening relations with the region, considered vital for security and economic prosperity.

Kamala Harris arrived aboard Air Force 2 at 10.50 am local time at Paya Lebar Air Force Base, where she was received by Singapore’s Foreign Minister, Vivian Balakrishan, according to local media reports.

Before embarking on her first official trip outside the American continent as vice president, Harris, in a tweet, stressed on the strategic importance of Southeast Asia.

“Southeast Asia is at the center of the Indo-Pacific – a region vital to our national security, our economic prosperity, and to the health of our people,” she said.

The vice president will begin her official agenda on Monday, when she will meet with Singapore President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Her stay in the island-state will conclude on Tuesday, with a speech and an interaction with a group of entrepreneurs, which will also be attended by Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong.

After the event, Harris is scheduled to leave for Vietnam, where she will meet with the country’s top leaders before concluding tour on Thursday.

The visit comes around a month after US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s official trip to Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines, underlining the importance the administration under President Joe Biden attaches to the region in counterbalancing China’s influence.

Morever, Harris is also expected to discuss issues such as regional security, response to the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change, according to White House spokesperson Symone Sanders last month. EFE


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