US Vice President Kamala Harris slams China in major speech

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris

President Joe Biden himself has repeatedly emphasised his focus on China as one of America’s main adversaries

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Vice President Kamala Harris has delivered a sharp rebuke to China for its incursions in the South China Sea, affirming that the US will support its allies in the region against Beijing’s advances.

In a major foreign policy speech in Singapore on Tuesday in which she laid out the Biden administration’s vision for the Indo-Pacific, Ms Harris said: “We know that Beijing continues to coerce, to intimidate and to make claims to the vast majority of the South China Sea.

“Beijing’s actions continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten the sovereignty of nations.”

The speech sought to cement the US commitment to supporting its allies in an area of growing importance to the Biden administration, which has made countering China’s influence globally a centrepiece of its foreign policy.

Ms Harris, who is on a week-long swing through Southeast Asia, declared that the US “stands with our allies and our partners” in the face of threats from China.

The address offered an opportunity for the former state attorney general and US senator to prove her fluidity with diplomatic and security issues.

Ms Harris’s remarks also come during a critical moment for the United States as the Biden administration seeks to further solidify its pivot towards Asia while America’s decades-long focus on the Middle East comes to a messy end with the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden himself has repeatedly emphasised his focus on China as one of America’s main adversaries, pledging in a February speech at the State Department to “confront China’s economic abuses; counter its aggressive, coercive action; to push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property, and global governance”.

The chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, however, has complicated the message of support to the region, raising questions about the US commitment to its allies