WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Singapore and Vietnam next month on a trip focused on strengthening economic ties and celebrating America’s cultural connection with the Indo-Pacific region.
It will be Harris’ first overseas travel and second foreign trip, after she visited Guatemala and Mexico in June as part of her role leading diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of migration to the United States. And it will be the first time a U.S. vice president has visited Vietnam.
Harris will be the highest-ranking official from President Joe Biden’s administration to visit Asia. Her visit comes as the administration is working to counter China’s influence in the region and globally.
According to chief Harris spokesperson Symone Sanders, Harris will meet with the leaders of Singapore and Vietnam to discuss regional security, the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.
“President Biden and Vice President Harris have made it a top priority to rebuild our global partnerships and keep our nation secure, and this upcoming visit continues that work — deepening our engagement in Southeast Asia,” Sanders said Friday, adding that Harris would be “the first vice president to ever visit Vietnam.”
The Biden administration has placed an emphasis on strengthening diplomatic ties with nations in the Indo-Pacific region to push back against China. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is visiting the region this week, with a focus on offering support for Southeast Asian nations embroiled in territorial rifts with China.