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Vice President Kamala Harris chastised Beijing for its actions in the South China Sea on Tuesday, and sought to reassure Asian countries that they will not have to choose between the US and China.

Ms Kamala Harris. PHOTO: REUTER

As the US’s actions in Afghanistan raise questions about the country’s legitimacy as an ally, Kamla’s visit is intended to maintain US influence in Southeast Asia in the face of international criticism of the US’s actions in Kabul.

In a speech in Singapore on her first official tour to Southeast Asia, Harris said, “We know that Beijing continues to pressure, intimidate, and make claims to the vast bulk of the South China Sea.”

Harris said the U.S. wants to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific — a region that broadly refers to the area that lies between the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

US-Vietnam

Ms Harris and Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (Pool/AP)

According to American Vice President Kamala Harris, the US will deliver an additional one million coronavirus vaccination doses to Vietnam.

The action will help a country that is now dealing with a new coronavirus outbreak and stubbornly low immunisation rates.

Ms Harris said the medicines would start arriving within the next 24 hours after a bilateral discussion with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

This brings the total number of vaccines donated by the United States to Vietnam to six million.

The new coronavirus help is part of a slew of new collaborations and support for Vietnam announced in conjunction with Ms Harris’ visit to the country as part of a week-long diplomatic tour to Southeast Asia.

The tour, which began with a trip to Singapore earlier this week, aims to improve US ties in the Indo-Pacific region in order to offset Chinese influence.

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