Indo-Pacific, SE Asia to dictate future of world, says US Vice President Kamala Harris

Indo-Pacific, SE Asia to dictate future of world, says US Vice President Kamala Harris

Singapore: US Vice President (VP) Kamala Harris on Monday said she believed that Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific would dictate the future of the world as she held talks with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as part of her Southeast Asia visit aimed at bolstering America’s engagement in the region.

Harris, at a press conference here with Lee, pointed out that the agreements the US had inked with Singapore and the Southeast Asian region were evidence of its strength and enduring relationships around the globe. These are not only priorities that relate to the United States’ security or economic interests but they also relate to challenges the world faces going forward – such as future pandemics and what countries can do together to research on and stop them, she said.

“This is a relationship that is based on a shared vision, both in terms of the challenges we face and also the opportunities that we face… It is about the future in terms of our mutual commitment, curiosity and interest,” said Harris, who arrived here on Sunday but was given a formal welcome on Monday at Singapore’s Presidential Palace, the Istana.

Harris’s visit to Singapore is part of a diplomatic charm offensive by the Biden administration in Southeast Asia, a region that is crucial to the future prosperity and security of the US amidst China’s aggressive actions in the region.

Addressing the press conference, Prime Minister Lee said: “Our two countries have robust cooperation on transnational issues including terrorism, cybersecurity and counter-proliferation… we were later the first Southeast Asian country to contribute personnel and assets to the Global Coalition to defeat ISIS.”

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Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said Afghanistan is a key battlefront in the global fight against terrorism from where extremist ideas have been exported to the region. He hoped the country wouldn’t become an epicentre of terrorism after the Taliban unleashed violence to seize Kabul.

Singapore offers tanker aircraft for evacuation

Singapore has offered the US one of its tanker aircraft to airlift stranded civilians from war-torn Afghanistan. It is capable of conducting air-to-air refuelling and airlift roles simultaneously.


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