Home / News / World /  Kamala Harris blasts China, says US won’t force Asian countries to pick sides

Vice President Kamala Harris warned that China poses a threat to countries in Asia, while reassuring nations in the region the U.S. won’t force countries to choose between the world’s biggest economies.  In a speech in Singapore on Tuesday, Harris spoke about the U.S. vision for a region built on rules, human rights, freedom of the seas and unimpeded commerce. 

She also offered for the U.S. to host the 2023 summit of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, signifying the administration’s commitment to multilateral engagement. 

In her most pointed comments at Beijing, Harris accused China of coercion and intimidation over its vast territorial claims in the South China Sea. “Beijing’s actions continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten the sovereignty of nations," she said. 

Harris’s remarks, billed by the White House as a major foreign policy speech, echoed the themes of other administration officials who have sought to engage more with allies in a break from Donald Trump’s “America First" worldview. The vice president said U.S. partnerships would now be “grounded in candor, openness, inclusiveness, shared interests and mutual benefits."

“Our engagement in Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific is not against any one country, nor is it designed to make anyone choose between countries," she added.

Singapore in particular has tried to balance its relationships with both Washington and Beijing, stressing that it wouldn’t want to choose sides between the two competing superpowers. 

Harris opened her speech by talking about Afghanistan, defending President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw as “courageous and right" while saying the U.S. was “laser-focused" on evacuating U.S. citizens and vulnerable Afghans.

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