Evacuation in Afghanistan priority, says Kamala Harris during maiden Singapore visit

Evacuation in Afghanistan priority, says Kamala Harris during maiden Singapore visit
This is Harris’s maiden southeast Asia visit after taking charge of office

Kamala Harris on Monday said that US is “singularly focussed” on evacuation efforts in Afghanistan and there would be plenty of time to analyse the troop withdrawal in the strife torn country currently under Taliban control.

This is her maiden southeast Asia visit after taking charge of office.

Addressing a joint press conference with Cingapura’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, Ms Harris said: “There is going to be plenty of time to analyse what has happened and what has taken place in the context of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. But right now we are singularly focused on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who have worked with us and Afghans who are vulnerable, including women and children and that is our singular focus at this time.”

“We hope Afghanistan does not become an epicentre for terrorism again,” Mr Lee added.

Her visit to Asia comes amid a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan after the US announced the withdrawal of its military troops from the country.

Ms Harris arrived in Singapore on Sunday to begin her seven-day tour of the region. This high-level meeting marked 55 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and the US.

The US vice president attended a welcome ceremony outside Istana — the official residence of the president — where a marching band played the American anthem “star spangled banner.” Prime Minister Lee showed her a species of orchid that was named in her honour. Ms Harris later participated in a courtesy call with President Halimah Yacob before heading to diplomatic talks.

Commenting on US-Singapore ties, Ms Harris said: “This is a relationship that is based on a shared vision, both in terms of the challenges we face and the opportunities we face. It is about the future in terms of our mutual commitment, curiosity and interest.

“The US is a partner nation in Singapore’s newly-established multilateral Counter-Terrorism Information Facility and intelligence and law enforcement agencies on both sides hold regular dialogues,” Prime Minister Lee said.

Ms Harris is scheduled to visit Vietnam later this week to counter China’s aggressive growing influence in the Asian subcontinent. During the visit, US officials are likely to address concerns about China’s claims on the conflicted parts of the South China Sea, AP reported. Em julho, Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin paid a visit to Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines intending to form allies in the region.

Ms Harris will also visit the Changi Naval Base and US littoral combat ship USS Tulsa, which has been docked for a multilateral exercise. De acordo com um 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Singapore provides the US with military access to its naval and air bases.

Na terça-feira, she will deliver a policy speech and participate in a discussion with representatives of multiple businesses.

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