US Vice President Kamala Harris arrives in S'pore on first official visit

She will spend a few days in Singapore before travelling to Vietnam.

Karen Lui | August 22, 2021, 11:08 AM

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has arrived in Singapore on Sunday, August 22 morning, at Paya Lebar Air Base.

She landed at around 10:50am and was received by Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore's Ambassador to the U.S. Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, and the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Chee Wee Kiong, among others.

U.S. Charge d'Affaires to Singapore Rafik Mansour was also present.

The arrival

Prior to her arrival, a plane bearing the livery of the U.S. touched down on the tarmac at around 10:45am, but it was not the plane Harris was on.

Screenshot by Mothership.

A few minutes later, Air Force Two landed.

Screenshot by Mothership.

The welcoming party lined up to greet the vice president.

Screenshot from Mothership.

She exited the plane at around 11:00am.

Photo by Juan Ezwan.

First official visit to Asia

On August 20, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced Harris' visit to Singapore from August 23 to August 24, 2021.

On July 27, Reuters first reported the possibility of the vice president's visit to the island city-state, following her trip to Mexico and Guatemala in June.

Her arrival in Singapore marks her first official visit to Asia, accompanied by senior officials from the Vice President’s Office, National Security Council and Department of State.

The MFA press release states that she will call on President Halimah Yacob, and have a meeting and Joint Press Conference with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The first female vice president of the US will have a new orchid hybrid named in her honour during a ceremony at the Istana.

The 56-year-old politician will also drop by Changi Naval Base and board the US Littoral Combat Ship "USS Tulsa".

She will also deliver a policy speech and participate in a roundtable with the business community involving Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong on August 24 before she leaves.

Harris' issues

A senior White House official shared with Reuters that Harris would be focusing on defending international rules in the South China Sea, strengthening U.S. regional leadership and expanding security cooperation in the region.

She will also continue to work on Afghanistan-related matters during her Asia trip, the official said.

After President Joe Biden's withdrawal of the US troops after a 20-year war, the Taliban's return to power in Afghanistan's capital city, Kabul, have resulted in scenes of chaos.

According to CNBC, Harris will travel from Singapore to Vietnam on August 24 and leave the region on August 26.

Read more

Top image from Kamala Harris' Facebook page and Livestream video.