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US Vice President Arrives for ASEAN Summit as Regional Tensions Ramp Up

JAKARTA — Vice President Kamala Harris has arrived in Jakarta to meet with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, in a summit hosted by Indonesia, the outgoing chair of the 10-nation group.

Her visit comes at a time of heightened tensions in the region as China released a controversial territorial map that has drawn the ire of India, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines. Harris is expected to raise the issue of what the administration calls Beijing’s “false maritime claims” during her meetings with ASEAN leaders.

“She will not shy away from talking about our responsibilities as a Pacific power,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told VOA in an interview Friday. “Five of our seven treaty alliances are in the Indo-Pacific region, and so the vice president will certainly make it clear that the United States takes those responsibilities seriously.”

While Harris has been in the region several times since assuming office, this is her first time in Indonesia, a U.S. “strategic partner” since 2015 and a key player in the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy. The country is hosting its massive annual Super Garuda Shield live-fire military exercises with the U.S., Australia, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom and France.

Source : VOA News