US Strengthens Southeast Asian Relations Against China's Influence

US Strengthens Southeast Asian Relations Against China's Influence

During his visit to Vietnam, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Thursday (29/7) promised to provide support to countries in Southeast Asia in their dispute with China.

UMMATIMES - During his meeting with Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, US Defense Secretary Austin drew attention to the US's strong bilateral partnership with Vietnam, and emphasized that the US supports a strong, independent, and prosperous Vietnam. He also discussed various issues, including his country's commitment to help Vietnam fight the Covid-19 pandemic with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

The US will provide Vietnam with 5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine along with an additional US$20 million worth of Covid-19 support.

Vietnam's Ministry of Defense said in a statement that the US and Vietnam highly appreciate the results of bilateral defense cooperation, especially in overcoming the consequences of war, overcoming non-traditional security challenges, supporting Vietnam in joining the UN peacekeeping mission, and enhancing law enforcement at sea.

Austin also met with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to discuss the importance of the US partnership with Singapore.

"Singapore's leadership plays a very important role in advancing the common principles that maintain regional stability, and I greatly appreciate the strong partnership between us," he said.

Criticizing China for ignoring the sovereignty of countries in the region, Austin tweeted on Tuesday, "Beijing's claims over large parts of the South China Sea have no basis in international law."

"We continue to support coastal states in the region in upholding their rights under international law," he said.