WASHINGTON, July 19 (Reuters) – US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will visit Southeast Asia later this month, the Pentagon has announced, a trip that will include stops in the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam , according to the US Embassy in Hanoi.
“Secretary Austin’s visit will demonstrate the importance that the Biden-Harris administration places on Southeast Asia and ASEAN as an essential part of Indo-Pacific architecture,” the spokesperson said. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc.
The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi said Tuesday that Austin’s trip will begin on July 23.
“This trip will underline the United States’ enduring commitment to the region and our interest in maintaining the rules-based international order in the region and promoting the centrality of ASEAN,” the embassy said in an article. on Facebook.
The United States under President Joe Biden seeks to reinforce the need for a US role in a region where China has considerable influence as a dominant trading partner, but difficult relations due to its military activities in the China Sea southern.
Austin has been to preserve decades-old military ties with the Philippines, a defense treaty partner, after repeated threats to demote the alliance by its largely pro-Chinese president Rodrigo Duterte, whose term ends l ‘next year.
Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Sandra Maler, Martin Petty
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