VP Harris: US will ‘speak up’ on South China Sea
The US welcomes competition and is not seeking confrontation with Beijing, but would speak out on matters such as maritime conflicts in the South China Sea, Vice President Kamala Harris said as she wrapped off a tour to Southeast Asia.
Harris criticized China of pressuring its Southeast Asian neighbors during trips to Singapore and Vietnam, prompting strong rebukes from Beijing, which accused the US of interfering in regional affairs and disturbing peace.
“We embrace healthy competition; we do not want confrontation, but on matters such as the South China Sea, we will speak up,” Harris said during a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital.
“We will speak out when Beijing adopts measures that undermine the rules-based international order,” she said.
Harris’ seven-day visit to Singapore and Vietnam is part of a larger US plan to confront China on a global scale.
China, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan all claim portions of the South China Sea’s disputed seas, which are traversed by important shipping routes and are home to gas resources and abundant fishing grounds.