US Vice President Kamala Harris called on Vietnam to join the US in combating China’s “bullying behavior” in the South China Sea (Vietnam calls it the East Sea). The appeal follows her strong words aimed at Beijing while she toured Southeast Asia this week.
“We need to find a way to pressure and increase pressure on Beijing to comply with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and oppose its excessive and bullying maritime claims,” she said at the start of a bilateral meeting with Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on August 25.
Her remarks follow her sharp words for Beijing through a speech in Singapore on Tuesday, August 24. In her speech, she said that Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea reached the point of “coercion” and “intimidation.”
On August 25, in Vietnam, Vice President Harris also said that the US supports the delivery of an additional US Coast Guard patrol boat to Vietnam to help Vietnam protect its security interests in the South China Sea. She also advocates elevating the relationship with Vietnam from a comprehensive partner to a strategic one, a diplomatic classification that reflects the deepening relationship between the two former enemies.
These are the latest moves by the Biden administration to strengthen its alliances in the Indo-Pacific region in an effort to counter Chinese influence. Ms. Harris’ trip to the region, including a stop in Singapore earlier this week, is intended to expand US engagement with both Singapore and Vietnam and reaffirm US commitment to the region.
Ms. Harris, the first US vice president to visit Vietnam, told the host country’s president that “our relationship has come a long way in a quarter of a century.”
She also announced the opening of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Southeast Asia regional office. CDC’s new office will be one of four regional offices globally and is focused on partnering with regional governments on research and training to respond to and prevent global health crises. bridge.
This announcement comes as Vietnam is struggling with a record high number of corona virus infections in the country due to delta mutations and low vaccination rates in Vietnam.
Regarding the US’s help in fighting the epidemic, as VOA reported, Vice President Harris announced that the US would donate one million more doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam, bringing the total number of vaccines to Vietnam up to six million doses. This batch of vaccines will start arriving in Vietnam in the next 24 hours, she said.
The announcement was made by Ms. Harris after bilateral talks with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on August 25.
In addition, she also announced the US’s “COVID-19 technical and program support” worth $23 million, bringing the total amount of assistance since the beginning of the pandemic to nearly $44 million.
According to the working schedule, on the afternoon of August 25, Vice President Harris is expected to sign an agreement on leasing land to build a new US embassy in Hanoi, marking an effort to expand relations between the two countries.