- The vice president arrived in Singapore on Sunday for her second foreign trip
- She held a round table on Monday with business leaders in the Asian nation
- Harris discussed threats from climate change and to global supply chains
- She said that people should consider buying their Christmas presents now
- She did not, however, touch on the major foreign policy issue of Afghanistan
- In a major policy speech later on Monday she warned of threats posed by China
- Harris said Beijing was menacing countries in the region, threatening stability
- On Tuesday Harris will depart for Vietnam, and return to California on Friday
Kamala Harris on Monday discussed Christmas shopping and climate change, but failed in her major foreign policy speech to mention the current crisis in Afghanistan.
Harris, addressing a roundtable of business leaders before her speech, warned that climate change and the pandemic have contributed supply chain issues, The New York Times reported, and suggested parents should consider getting Christmas presents now.
‘The stories that we are now hearing about the caution that if you want to have Christmas toys for your children, it might now be might be the time to start buying them, because the delay may be many, many months,’ she said.
‘So across the board, people are experiencing the issue.
‘And, of course, the climate crisis is fueling a lot of this. When we look at the stronger typhoons that have disrupted shipping lanes and sea level rise, which threatens port infrastructure as an example. So these are the many issues that are that are causing these disruptions.’
The Vice President who kicked off her week-long Asia tour on Sunday, also delivered a sharp rebuke to China for its incursions in the South China Sea, warning its actions there amount to ‘coercion’ and ‘intimidation’ and affirming that the U.S. will support its allies in the region against Beijing’s advances.
But she once again dodged the most weighty international issue of the moment: Afghanistan. Harris has been criticized in the U.S. for her silence on the issue, leaving the remarks to figures such as Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser; Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin; and Joe Biden himself.
Later, in what was billed as a major foreign policy speech, she again failed to mention Afghanistan.
‘We know that Beijing continues to coerce, to intimidate and to make claims to the vast majority of the South China Sea,’ she said.
‘Beijing’s actions continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten the sovereignty of nations.’
Harris, who later on Tuesday will travel on to Vietnam, declared that the U.S. ‘stands with our allies and our partners’ in the face of threats from China.
The speech sought to cement the U.S. commitment to supporting its allies in an area of growing importance to the Biden administration, which has made countering China’s influence globally a centerpiece of its foreign policy.
And it came during a critical moment for the United States, as the Biden administration seeks to further solidify its pivot towards Asia while America’s decades-long focus on the Middle East comes to a messy end with the chaotic withdrawal from Kabul.
In her speech, she failed to mention Afghanistan – although she did take questions on it while in Singapore.