She stated that Beijing "continues to coerce, intimidate, and to claim the vast majority of South China Sea," in a speech Tuesday in Singapore. In which she outlined the Biden administration’s vision for the Indo-Pacific. "Beijing continues to undermine the rules-based order, and threaten the sovereignty nations,"
Harris is currently on a week-long trip through Southeast Asia and declared that the U.S. stands with its allies in the face of China's threats. Due to investigations into two incidents of the Havana syndrome, a mysterious illness plaguing U.S. diplomats in Hanoi, Harris's subsequent visit in Vietnam was delayed by several hours.
This speech was intended to reinforce the U.S. commitment in supporting its allies in an important area for the Biden administration. It has made countering China’s global influence a central part of its foreign policy. And it came during a critical moment for the United States, as the Biden administration seeks to further solidify its pivot toward Asia while America's decades-long focus on the Middle East comes to a messy end with the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Harris emphasized this shift by calling the Indo-Pacific "critically essential to our nation’s security and prosperity."
Her harshest criticisms of the U.S. enemy were expressed in her rebuke to Beijing. China responded with Wang Wenbin, the spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, referring to Afghanistan in response to a question regarding Harris' comments. He said that the U.S. lost credibility due the chaotic withdrawal from Kabul. He claimed that the U.S. could "smear, suppress and coerce other countries at will to maintain America's supremacy, without paying any cost."
This is the U.S. order. Wang stated that the U.S. tries to use the rules to justify its selfish, bullying, and hegemonic behavior.
Harris made it clear in her remarks that the U.S. seeks greater engagement in Indo-Pacific not only to counter China but also to advance an "optimistic view that we have for our participation in the region". Harris also said that the U.S. doesn't want to "make anyone choose between two countries."
Harris hosted a roundtable discussion on supply chain issues with business leaders after Tuesday's speech. After a delay of many hours, which her staff didn't explain, Harris left for Vietnam, the second and final stop on her trip. On Wednesday, she meets with high-ranking Vietnamese officials.
The U.S. Embassy Hanoi stated that the delay was due to Harris' office learning about a recent "recent anomalous health incident" within the Vietnamese capital. Although the embassy did not provide any details, it stated that Harris' office had decided to travel to Hanoi after a careful assessment.
According to an unnamed administration official, the cause of the delay was two separate reported cases of the Havana Syndrome. The potential victims were not immediately identified.
The U.S. government uses the term "anomalous medical incident" to describe the syndrome. It is a series of strange health events first reported by American diplomats in Havana, Cuba in 2016. Some people who were impacted describe hearing a loud, piercing sound in their faces and feeling intense pressure on the face. Sometimes, dizziness, nausea, or pain can be followed by dizziness.
Similar, unexplained health ailments have since b een reported by Americans serving in other countries. Russia has been denied by the administration, but officials from the Administration have suggested that Russia could be involved.
Joe Biden has made it clear that he views China as America's principal adversary. His administration has increased outreach to the Indo-Pacific region in recent months. In spring and summer, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Deputy Secretary Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, visited the region. Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, also met with officials from Southeast Asia earlier in the month.
However, the chaotic U.S. withdrawal in Afghanistan has complicated the message of support for the region and raised questions about the U.S. commitment towards its allies. Biden stated last week that indefinite engagement would have been beneficial to "true strategic rivals" China and Russia. However, China has taken advantage of the images of violence following the evacuation to criticize the U.S. engagement.