Categories: World

‘As obvious as you can get’: US VP Kamala Harris to visit front-line South China Sea island

Manila: Vice President Kamala Harris will underline the United States’ commitment to defending the treaty ally Philippines with a visit that began Sunday and involves flying to an island province off the disputed South China Sea where Washington has accused China of intimidating the smaller claimant nations.

After attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Thailand, Harris flew out Sunday night for a red-carpet welcome in Manila. On Monday he will meet with President Ferdinand Marcos jnr for talks aimed at bolstering Washington’s oldest treaty alliance in Asia and strengthening economic ties, a senior US administration official said.

US Vice President Kamala Harris heads to the disputed South China Sea.Credit:access point

Harris said her trip to Thailand was “quite successful” and reiterated the United States’ commitment to the region Sunday afternoon at a roundtable on climate change.

The panel of climate activists, civil society members and business leaders focused on clean energy and the threat climate change poses to the Mekong River, which more than 60 million people in Southeast Asia use for food, water and transportation. Harris announced that the US plans to provide up to $20 million in funding for clean energy in the region through the Mekong US-Japan Energy Partnership.

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Before her flight, she stopped at a local market and perused a maze of shops, struck up conversations with the vendors, and bought Thai green curry paste.


On Tuesday, he will fly to Palawan province, which lies along the South China Sea, to meet with fishermen, villagers, officials and the coast guard. Once there, she will be the highest-ranking American leader to visit the border island at the forefront of longstanding territorial disputes involving China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

The Philippine coast guard is scheduled to welcome Harris aboard one of its largest patrol vessels, the BRP Teresa Magbanua, in Palawan, where he is scheduled to deliver a speech, according to coast guard spokesman Commodore Armand Balilo.

Harris will stress the importance of international law, unimpeded trade and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the US official said.


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