HANOI — U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris turned her consideration to points surrounding employee rights and civil liberties Thursday as she closed out her go to to Southeast Asia, elevating activists in a area of the world identified for its challenges and restrictions to human rights.
In Vietnam, Harris participated in what her crew billed as a “changemakers” occasion with activists engaged on LGBTQ rights and local weather change.
“It’s essential that if we’re to tackle the challenges we face that we do it in a means that’s collaborative, that we should empower leaders in each sector, together with in fact authorities however group leaders, enterprise leaders, civic society if we’re to maximise the sources we collectively have,” Harris mentioned.
Later Thursday, Harris will communicate at a information convention earlier than starting the journey again to the U.S.
Vietnam has been criticized for restrictions on freedom of expression and the press, widespread violence towards girls within the nation and its crackdown on people it deems political dissidents. Whereas Harris spoke about the necessity to defend girls and rights for transgender folks, she expressed no criticism of the federal government of Vietnam for its abuses whereas reporters had been within the room.
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The occasions had been capping off a weeklong journey that took Harris to Singapore and Vietnam in a bid to strengthen U.S. relations with the 2 nations and affirm the dedication to a area that’s grown more and more necessary to U.S. efforts to counter China’s affect globally.
The vp spent the week assembly with leaders in each nations to debate methods wherein the U.S. can deepen financial and protection ties. She unveiled new agreements with Singapore to fight cyberthreats and deal with local weather change, and assist to Vietnam to develop financial alternatives and fight the coronavirus, amongst different issues.
Whereas Harris has emphasised that her go to to Southeast Asia is meant to foster a constructive relationship with nations within the area and increase U.S. cooperation and involvement, she additionally spent the go to ramping up Biden administration rhetoric towards China, issuing repeated warnings to the nation to finish its aggression within the disputed South China Sea.
“We have to discover methods to stress and lift the stress, frankly, on Beijing to abide by the United Nations Conference on the Regulation of the Sea, and to problem its bullying and extreme maritime claims,” she mentioned Wednesday.
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Harris prevented the unscripted gaffes that overshadowed her first overseas journey, to Guatemala and Mexico within the spring, the place her declaration to migrants — “don’t come” — and her flip dismissal of questions on her refusal to go to the border drew criticism from either side of the aisle. Harris took questions from reporters at a number of factors that journey, and sat for an prolonged cable information interview.
In Asia, Harris stayed targeted on her conferences with officers and Biden administration speaking factors on China. Whereas questions surrounding the messy U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan dominated her first day in Singapore, Harris emphasised the identical message delivered by President Joe Biden and his aides — that the U.S. should stay targeted on the evacuations, and never recriminations about what went fallacious.
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However she was sure to face extra questions on Afghanistan, the U.S. confrontation with China and its engagement within the Indo-Pacific throughout her information convention Thursday.
On her journey house, Harris will cease at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii to fulfill with servicemembers. Then she’ll flip her focus to U.S. politics at an occasion within the San Francisco space for California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who’s dealing with a recall try.