US Vice President visits Singapore to strengthen ties, stop Chinese influence

US Vice President Kamla Harris said Monday during her visit to Singapore that the United States is focusing on the ongoing evacuation efforts in Afghanistan and that there will be plenty of time to analyze the circumstances of the troop withdrawal.

Harris met Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Halimah Yacob during her visit, which aims to strengthen relations with partners in the region as part of Washington’s efforts to counter China’s growing influence on the economic and security fronts.

“There will be plenty of time to analyze what happened and what happened in the context of the withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Harris said during a joint news conference with the Singaporean prime minister.

“But at the moment we are only focused on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who have worked with us, and Afghans at risk, including women and children,” she added. That is what our focus is now.”

“We hope that Afghanistan will not become a hotbed of terrorism again,” Lee said, adding that Singapore had offered transport planes to help with the evacuations.

Part of Harris’ job during the visit will be to convince leaders in Singapore and Vietnam that Washington’s commitment to Southeast Asia is unwavering.

“Today, we are in Singapore to reaffirm and reaffirm our enduring relationship with this country and in this region, and to advance a shared vision of the freedom and openness of the Indo-Pacific region,” Harris said.

Singapore is one of the United States’ strongest security partners in the region and has deep commercial ties. But Singapore also seeks to balance its relations with the United States and China by not taking sides.

Harris is scheduled to visit Changi Naval Base and then inspect the US Navy’s warship Tulsa.