'Strategic signalling' to Asean?

Harris attending the official launch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Southeast Asia regional office in Hanoi. — AP

WHEN United States Vice President Kamala Harris made two separate trips to Singapore (Aug 22) and Vietnam (Aug 26), two of her most important foreign policy goals were to enlist the support of Singapore to vouch that the US would always be welcomed in the Indo-Pacific as a "security guarantor", and that countries surrounding China should not be intimidated into believing that "rule of law" in the region would be compromised in any bilateral or multilateral issues.

On her subsequent trip to Hanoi, she encouraged Vietnam to be a "strategic partner” of the US, with further assurance that the US would send one million doses of vaccines until the Delta variant or its breakthrough variant was successfully contained.

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