US Vice-President Kamala Harris arrives in Singapore

Harris arriving on Air Force Two at the Paya Lebar Air Base in Ssingapore. - ST

SINGAPORE (The Straits/Asia News Network): United States Vice-President Kamala Harris touched down in Singapore minutes ago and kicked off an official visit to South-East Asia - her first outside the Americas since being sworn into office in January.

Harris arrived on Air Force Two at about 10.50am on Sunday (Aug 22) at Paya Lebar Air Base. She will be in Singapore until Tuesday, when she will head to Vietnam before departing the region on Thursday.

She was received at the airbase by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

Harris, who was wearing a black pantsuit with a white top, was accompanied by more than 20 staff and security officers.

All of them were wearing face masks, in line with Covid-19 safe management measures.

Last Thursday, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said Harris will be subject to regular Covid-19 testing and a controlled itinerary to keep her visit to Singapore safe.

Harris, who left the US on Saturday, stopped to refuel Air Force Two in Anchorage, Alaska, and the Japanese capital Tokyo - and remained onboard the plane, said The White House.

Harris, 56, will begin a flurry of formal engagements on Monday with a call on President Halimah Yacob at the Istana, followed by a meeting and joint press conference with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

An orchid will be named in her honour in a ceremony at the Istana.

She will also visit Changi Naval Base and the US littoral combat ship USS Tulsa, which is in port for a multilateral exercise.

On Tuesday, Ms Harris will deliver a policy speech and participate in a roundtable discussion with the business community, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement on Friday. Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong will take part in this discussion.

Harris will leave Singapore for Vietnam on Tuesday afternoon.

Her trip comes on the heels of US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin's late July trip to Singapore and the region.

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