|US Vice President Kamala Harris. AFP Photo|
HÀ NỘI - Kamala Harris will become the first US Vice President to visit Việt Nam during a trip next month that will also take her to Singapore, her spokeswoman announced on Friday (local time).
The trip aims to "strengthen relationships and expand economic cooperation with two critical Indo-Pacific partners of the United States", spokeswoman Symone Sanders said in a brief statement that did not mention dates.
The statement read: "During the trip, the Vice-President will engage the leaders of both governments on issues of mutual interest, including regional security, the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and our joint efforts to promote a rules-based international order.
"The Vice-President will also affirm and celebrate the strong cultural and people-to-people ties between the United States and these countries."
US President Joe Biden and Vice-President Harris 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 added.
This will be the 56-year-old Californian's first trip outside the Americas since she was sworn into office in January as the first female US vice president.
The visit comes on the heels of a swing through the region by US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, who visited Việt Nam, the Philippines and Singapore.
Harris' visits showcase America's long-term commitment to a prosperous and secure Southeast Asia, Dr Patrick Cronin, chair for Asia-Pacific security at the Hudson Institute in Washington, told Singapore’s The Straits Times.
"By visiting Singapore and Việt Nam, Vice President Harris can reinforce overlapping strategic interests in a stable, rules-based order with two of the region's most strategic countries," he said.
"Despite the obstacles of a pandemic, the White House fully intends to deliver on its promise to work more closely with its key partners on ending COVID-19, jump-starting economic growth, and tackling tomorrow's challenges such as climate change."
Dr Cronin added: "The US knows that Singapore's success remains a shining example for the region, and that Việt Nam has tremendous potential to help drive the future economy."
Curtis S. Chin, a former US ambassador to the Asian Development Bank, told The Strait Times that Harris' trip "offers the US the chance to underscore ongoing American assistance to the region, including in the fight against COVID-19 through vaccine donations".
The trip "comes at an important time as nations continue to assess President's Biden policies and commitment to the Indo-Pacific region and especially to Southeast Asia", he said.
Up to now the US have shipped more than 5 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Việt Nam and it has also sent doses to other Southeast Asian countries. THE STRAIT TIMES/VNS