DHARAMSALA, 24 Aug: US Vice President Kamala Harris has called out China for its continued coercion and intimidation to claim the South China Sea.
The Vice President made the remarks in a policy speech she delivered at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay on Tuesday where she said that “our vision includes freedom of navigation, which is vital to us all. The livelihoods of millions of people depend on the billions of dollars in trade that flow through these sea lanes each day,” reports CNA, an English-language news channel based in Singapore.
“And yet, in the South China Sea, we know that Beijing continues to coerce, to intimidate, and to make claims to the vast majority of the South China Sea,” she added.
Declaring Beijing’s claims “unlawful” as they were rejected in 2016 by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, she added: “Beijing’s actions continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten the sovereignty of nations.”
“The United States stands with our allies and partners in the face of these threats.”
She also spoke about the strong economic ties between the US and Southeast Asia and further announced that the US was offering to host the annual meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2023, a grouping that includes Beijing and the US,
The US Vice President is currently in the middle of an important seven-day tour to Southeast Asia and that the media reports say that her trip to the region has an added significance as it came at an important time for the Biden administration as it begins to pivot its attention towards the Indo-Pacific and away from the Middle East.