ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Biden's Asia policy

Harris tells Vietnam US Navy will keep presence in South China Sea

VP says Washington will donate another 1m vaccine doses, countering Beijing

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, left, discussed Indo-Pacific security concerns during her meeting Aug. 25 with Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc. (Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/pool/AFP)

HANOI -- U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris began her visit to Vietnam on Wednesday by pledging Washington would continue to keep a robust footprint in the South China Sea and would donate 1 million more vaccine doses.

"Let me affirm that the United States Navy will maintain a strong presence in the South China Sea and will continue to challenge Beijing's bullying and excessive maritime claims," Harris said in the capital, Hanoi, during talks with Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and other leaders.

Harris said the White House supports Vietnam's request for a third former U.S. Coast Guard patrol vessel so that the Southeast Asian country can enhance its maritime security capabilities.

"We need to find ways to pressure and raise the pressure, frankly, on Beijing to abide by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and to challenge its bullying and excessive maritime claims," Harris said.

Phuc supported stronger relations with the U.S.

"Vietnam desires to work jointly with the United States to further deepen the comprehensive partnership to promote more substantive, fruitful, long-lasting and sustainable bilateral ties," Phuc said Wednesday.

Harris said 1 million additional doses of coronavirus vaccines will be supplied to Vietnam, making for a total of 6 million doses donated by Washington. The vice president also said that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will open a Southeast Asia office in Hanoi, serving as the hub for America's infectious-disease response in the region.

Only about 2% of Vietnam's eligible population is fully vaccinated. One factor in the delay is Hanoi's decision to limit procurement of Chinese-made vaccines, dodging political complications around their bilateral territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

On Tuesday, prior to Harris's visit, the Chinese ambassador to Vietnam met with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and offered to supply 2 million vaccine doses. Such a delivery would lift China's donation to roughly 3 million doses.

Vietnam will not join any alliance or align with one country against another, Chinh said.

The U.S. normalized relations with Vietnam in 1995, and the two sides have recently deepened relations on the security front, on top of economic ties. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Vietnam in late July. Washington considers Vietnam a key partner in the Indo-Pacific given the country's arm's-length relationship with China.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more