U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris ended a five-day trip to #Singapore and #Vietnam on August 26, her second foreign trip since she took office. It was meant to bolster U.S. ties with key allies in #SoutheastAsia and, some argue, to counter China’s influence in the region.
Harris called the Indo-Pacific region “critically important to the nation’s security and prosperity,” and criticized Beijing’s activities in the region as “coercion” and “intimidation.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin hit back by rebuking the U.S. hasty exit in Afghanistan, saying it shows the U.S. has jeopardized its credibility among its allies. How should we interpret Harris’ visit to Singapore and Vietnam?
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Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south; Iran to the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north; and China to the northeast.
Occupying 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi), it is a mountainous country with plains in the north and southwest. Kabul is the capital and largest city. The population is around 32 million, composed mostly of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks.
Beijing, China’s sprawling capital, has history stretching back 3 millennia. Yet it’s known as much for modern architecture as its ancient sites such as the grand Forbidden City complex, the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
China is the third largest country in the world by area and the largest country in the world by population. Properly known as the People’s Republic of China, the political territory of the country includes the former nations of Tibet and Hong Kong. The capital is Beijing.
Kamala Devi Harris is an American politician and attorney who has served as the junior United States senator from California since 2017. She is the Democratic vice presidential nominee for the 2020 election.
The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth’s oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bounded by the continents of Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east
Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia.
The country’s territory is composed of one main island, 63 satellite islands and islets, and one outlying islet, the combined area of which has increased by 25% since the country’s independence as a result of extensive land reclamation projects. It has the second greatest population density in the world. The country has almost 5.7 million residents, 61% (3.4 million) of whom are Singaporean citizens. There are four official languages of Singapore: English, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil; with English being the lingua franca.
Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and bustling cities. Hanoi, the capital, pays homage to the nation’s iconic Communist-era leader, Ho Chi Minh, via a huge marble mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) has French colonial landmarks, plus Vietnamese War history museums and the Củ Chi tunnels, used by Viet Cong soldiers.