US ‘Singularly Focused’ on Evacuations in Afghanistan: Vice President Harris | asia news

The US vice president made the remarks during a visit to Singapore, where she pledged support for regional allies against China.

US Vice President Kamala Harris said the US remains “unilaterally focused” on Ongoing evacuations In Afghanistan, adding that there will be later time to assess the impact of the implementation of the withdrawal of US forces on the chaotic situation on the ground.

Harris made the remarks in Singapore on Monday during Asia trip It also includes a stop in Vietnam with the aim of strengthening relations with regional partners.

This comes as part of Washington’s broader foreign policy priority to counter China’s growing economic and security influence.

“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 press conference with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

“But right now we are focused individually on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who have worked with us, and Afghans at risk, including women and children, and that is our only focus at this time,” Harris said.

For his part, Lee added that Singapore has offered transport planes to help with the evacuations. “We hope that Afghanistan will not become a hotbed of terrorism again,” he said.

US President Joe Biden has faced criticism at home and abroad for his handling of the US troop withdrawal and the muddled evacuation process after the Taliban takeover.

While Harris’s trip was announced ahead of the bulk of the Taliban’s swift offensive, which saw the armed group seize Kabul on August 15, the situation added a new dynamic to her trip, making Harris assure Asian allies that the United States remains reliable. partner.

While Singapore is not a US treaty ally, it remains one of its strongest security partners in the region with deep commercial ties, while also seeking to balance its relationship with China.

The country is home to Southeast Asia’s largest port and supports the continuation of free shipping in the region, as China becomes increasingly assertive.

Harris said, referring to the disputed strategic waterway that is the subject of Competing claims From China, Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

Singapore’s Lee said perceptions of US determination and commitment to the region will be determined by “what the United States does in the future, how it repositions itself in the region, and how it engages a broad range of friends, partners, and allies”.

Cyber ​​Security, Supply Chain

The US and Singapore also announced that they reached security agreements on Monday that reaffirmed the US presence in the region through “regular deployments of US P-8 aircraft and littoral combat ships to Singapore,” according to a facts sheet of the meeting shared by White. a house.

The two countries also agreed to expand cooperation on cybersecurity in the financial sector and the military and to enhance the exchange of information about cyber threats, according to details shared by the White House.

Cyber ​​security has risen to the top of the Biden administration’s agenda after a series of high-profile attacks affecting fuel and food supplies in parts of the United States.

Other initiatives include initiating a dialogue between the United States and Singapore on building supply chains.

The Biden White House is addressing an acute shortage of semiconductor chips in the United States that has hit auto manufacturers hard and contributed to inflation.

The White House said the states also struck a partnership to combat COVID-19 and prepare for the next pandemic and agreed to address the global climate crisis and promote smart cities and green building standards across ASEA.

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