Some in the media said inquires about Afghanistan have overshadowed the purpose of Harris’ trip.
“Reporters’ preoccupation with the Afghan withdrawal on Monday overshadowed a series of new U.S.-Singapore agreements unveiled to coincide with the vice-president’s arrival,” CBS reported. “Accords were reached for the U.S. and Singapore to conduct more tracing and research on COVID variants and treatments; to share more information to fight cyber threats; and to develop new clean energy projects to fight climate change under a so-called U.S.-Singapore Climate Partnership. There were also pledges for closer cooperation on trade, defense and space exploration.”
“I’m happy that we are embarking on new areas of partnership,” Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said. “We concluded three agreements between our cyber, defense and finance agencies.”
CBS reported on the “intended themes” of Harris’s trip:
In prepared remarks to rolling cameras, both Harris and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong focused on cooperation on COVID prevention and regional stability, but in an open question and answer session that followed, reporters focused on Afghanistan, not the intended themes of Harris’ trip.
The Singaporean leader revealed that his government had offered Washington a tanker transport plane in support of efforts to evacuate thousands of Americans and their allies from Afghanistan.
Harris did visit with sailors on the U.S.S. Tulsa, which was docked at Singapore’s Changi Naval Base. She said she knew they had their eyes on what was happening in Kabul where she claimed their comrades were “trying to evacuate thousands of U.S. nationals and vulnerable Afghans.”
“We are grateful to those men and women in uniform, and the embassy staff on the ground for bringing safety to Americans and to the Afghans who work side by side with us, and to other Afghans at risk,” Harris said. ”They’re doing this mission in an incredibly challenging and dangerous environment. And the president and I are thankful for their service, and as I know you all know, we send them our thoughts and our prayers from afar, and close up, we thank you every day for the work that you do.”
Harris also bragged out the U.S. being a global leader even as the world has reacted in horror over the debacle in Afghanistan.
“The reason I am here is because the U.S. is a global leader, and we take that role seriously,” Harris said.