Mon. Oct 18th, 2021
 
Kamala Harris Accuses China Of Coercion

Kamala Harris Accuses China Of Coercion

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday accused China of coercion and intimidation to back unlawful claims in the South China Sea, in her most pointed comments on China on a visit to Southeast Asia, a region she said was critical to U.S. security.

 

Harris’s seven-day trip to Singapore and Vietnam is aimed at standing up to China’s growing security and economic influence globally and addressing concerns about China’s claims to disputed parts of the South China Sea.

 

Diverting attention and resources to the region has become a centrepiece of President Joe Biden’s administration, as it turns away from old security preoccupations with the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

Kamala Harris Accuses China Of Coercion

Kamala Harris Accuses China Of Coercion
Kamala Harris Accuses China Of Coercion

 

The U.S. administration has called rivalry with China “the biggest geopolitical test” of the century and Southeast Asia has seen a series of high-profile visits by top administration officials, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

 

“We know that Beijing continues to coerce, to intimidate and to make claims to the vast majority of the South China Sea,” Harris said in a speech in Singapore.

 

“These unlawful claims have been rejected by the 2016 arbitral tribunal decision, and Beijing’s actions continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten the sovereignty of nations,” she said, referring to an international tribunal’s ruling over China’s claims in The Hague.

 

China rejected the ruling and has stood by its claim to most of the waters within a so-called Nine Dash Line on its maps, parts of which Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam also claim.

 

China has established military outposts on artificial islands in the waters, which are crossed by vital shipping lanes and also contain gas fields and rich fishing grounds.

 

The U.S. Navy regularly conducts “freedom of navigation” operations through the disputed waters, which China objects to, saying they do not help promote peace or stability.

 

On board, the USS Tulsa, a U.S. combat ship at the Changi Naval Base in Singapore on Monday, Harris told U.S. sailors “a big part of the history of the 21st century will be written about this very region” and their work defending it was pivotal.

 

On Monday, Harris began her trip by meeting Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Subhangee Guha

Break the Newz.

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