Tensions in the South China Sea are rising as Biden and Harris put down the gauntlet to Beijing.
As tensions in the South China Sea continue to rise, US Vice President Joe Biden and US Senator Kamala Harris will throw down the gauntlet to Beijing.
Ms. Harris will travel to Asia for the first time since taking office later this month, and she will give a strong warning to China about the militarization of the disputed waters.
According to a US official, the 56-year-old would focus on protecting international laws in the South China Sea, boosting US regional leadership, and extending security cooperation.
Ms. Harris will begin her international journey on August 22 in Singapore before visiting Vietnam on August 24 as the first US Vice-President to do so.
“We do not want to see any country dominate that region or take advantage of the power situation to jeopardize the sovereignty of others,” a White House official said.
“The Vice-President will emphasize the importance of free commerce passage throughout the South China Sea, and no single country should defy the rights of others.”
In recent years, the South China Sea has become a major flashpoint between Washington and Beijing.
With military bases around the Paracel and Spratly Islands, China has continued to consolidate its control over the important maritime path.
US naval forces have kept a close eye on China’s advance in the region and make regular freedom of navigation voyages, but they haven’t done much to deter Beijing’s operations.
Ms Harris’ travel will take place less than a month after US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with senior Chinese diplomats in Beijing.
Ms Sherman is the highest-ranking US official to visit China in recent months, and she slammed the prospect of lowering tensions with Beijing.
“There’s no way to predict whether we’ll get to all the locations we dreamed for in the early stages of creating this relationship,” she said.
Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng of China has delivered a strong warning, claiming that the US is “demonizing” China because it is perceived as a “invented opponent.”
“It’s as if when China’s expansion is contained… America would become great again,” he added.
During his first official visit to India this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also took a jab at China.
Mr. Blinken wants to deepen ties with New Delhi and has issued a warning. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”