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US and Singapore agree to tackle cyber threats and climate change as Harris visits Southeast Asia

Written by on 23/08/2021

The US and Singapore have agreed new deals aimed at combating cyber threats, tackling climate change, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and improving supply chain issues.

The announcement coincides with Vice-President Kamala Harris’ visit to Southeast Asia as part of the US government’s efforts to counter Chinese influence in the region.

The defence department and treasury have signed a memorandum of understanding with Singapore, expanding information sharing and training to tackle cyber threats.

The US and Singapore agreed on a series of deals that will strengthen their ties in cyber security, climate change and COVID-19 research
Image: The US and Singapore agreed on a series of deals that will strengthen their ties on cyber security, climate change and COVID-19 research

The two nations are also launching the US-Singapore Climate Partnership – a new effort between the countries to develop new climate standards and collaborate on projects to expand clean energy infrastructure and development.

They have also agreed to work closely to track coronavirus variants and engage in research on treatments.

White House announced the deals after Ms Harris met Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

On Monday, she visited the Changi Naval Base, where she spoke to American sailors on board the USS Tulsa combat ship.

More on Kamala Harris

The trip is aimed to strengthen US ties with Southeast Asia
Image: The trip is aimed at improving US relations with Southeast Asia

On Tuesday, she will give a speech outlining the Biden administration’s vision for the region, and meet business leaders to discuss supply chain issues.

Later this week, she will go to Vietnam, the first time a vice-president has visited the country.

Alexander Feldman, president and chief executive of the US-ASEAN Business Council, said Ms Harris will have to be careful that her conversations with Singapore’s leaders don’t focus heavily on China, but to emphasise a positive and productive relationship with Singapore and Vietnam.

The US vice president will meet officials in Singapore before visiting Vietnam. She met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Image: The US vice president will travel to Vietnam after Singapore
Ms Harris wil be the first vice president to visit Vietnam
Image: Ms Harris will be the first US vice-president to visit Vietnam

“Where she could fall into a trap is really trying to pit this as a US versus China trip, it should be a US trip to our friends and partners in Southeast Asia,” he said.

He added it “makes it harder for our friends to move forward across the region, not only in Singapore and Vietnam but beyond that” if China is the main focal point.

This is the vice president’s second foreign trip after she visited Guatemala and Mexico in June.

 Sky News

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