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Singapore leader Lee Hsien Loong questions US reliability after Afghan withdrawal

Singapore’s prime minister warned Vice President Kamala Harris Monday that the relaxation of the environment will be watching intently to see what the US does following on the globe stage subsequent its chaotic retreat from Afghanistan.

For the duration of a joint news convention, Lee Hsien Loong was requested by Reuters reporter Nandita Bose no matter if the drop of Afghanistan to the Taliban previously this thirty day period had altered “the believability of America’s overseas policy promises”.

Lee, a previous brigadier general in Singapore’s armed forces, answered that “what will influence perceptions of US resolve and commitment to the location will be what the US does likely ahead, how it repositions alone in the location, how it engages its wide range of close friends and associates and allies in the region, and how it continues the fight against terrorism.

“Countries make calculations and consider positions, and they have to make recalculations and alter their positions from time to time,” Lee went on. “Sometimes, it can be done smoothly. Occasionally, there are hiccups. At times, points go awry and choose time to set ideal.”

Vice President Kamala Harris and Singapore’s Key Minister Lee Hsien Loong keeping a information convention in Singapore on August 23, 2021.
REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool

Earlier in the presser, Lee claimed he had told Harris all through their one-on-a person meeting that “we understand” President Joe Biden’s rationale for withdrawing all US overcome forces from Afghanistan by Aug. 31. He extra that Singapore was “grateful” for the US-led NATO intervention that prevented terror groups “from applying Afghanistan as a risk-free base for 20 yrs.”

“We hope Afghanistan does not grow to be an epicenter for terrorism once again,” the prime minister additional. “And put up-Afghanistan in the more time term, what matters is how the US repositions alone in the Asia-Pacific [region], engages the broader region and carries on the fight against terrorism, due to the fact that will establish the perceptions of the countries, of the US world wide priorities, and of its strategic intentions.”

Lee went on to offer you the use of the Singapore Air Force’s transport plane to assist with evacuation flights from Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport outdoors Kabul.

Prime Minister Loong claimed "what the US does going forward" will influence other countries.
Primary Minister Loong claimed “what the US does likely forward” will affect other international locations.
Image by EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/AFP through Getty Visuals

Harris, for her component, continuously declined to interact issues about what she felt ought to have been finished in a different way.

“I feel there’s heading to be a lot of time to assess what has took place and what has taken location in the context of the withdrawal from Afghanistan,” she said. “But right now, we are singularly centered on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who worked with us, and Afghans who are vulnerable, together with ladies and young children, and that is our singular concentration at this time.”

Harris experienced been criticized for going by means of with her excursion to Singapore and Vietnam amid the ongoing tragedy of the Afghanistan evacuation, which has noticed hundreds of Individuals and their Afghan allies stuck in Taliban-managed territory as the Islamic fundamentalists seek out to just take their revenge immediately after 20 many years out of ability.

A Taliban leader putting a flag up on his vehicle in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 20, 2021.
A Taliban leader placing a flag up on his motor vehicle in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 20, 2021.
Los Angeles Periods by using Getty Imag

Meanwhile, 1000’s additional have braved assaults from Taliban fighters at strategically-positioned checkpoints to get to the airport.

That criticism grew louder after Harris responded to a issue about Afghanistan by laughing and telling reporters to “slow down” after she landed in Singapore about the weekend.

Harris explained Monday that she experienced absent ahead to Southeast Asia to clearly show “the United States is a world wide chief, and we acquire that job severely, comprehending that we have a lot of passions and priorities close to the environment.”

“I am below in Singapore as a reaffirmation of our commitment to our membership in the Indo-Pacific area, our extensive-standing partnerships with Southeast Asia, and a extended-standing romance with Singapore … primarily based on our shared priorities and our shared vision, of not only the issues we deal with, but the long run and the potential, dependent on the alternatives that this minute also provides,” the VP added.

The botched Afghanistan withdrawal has raised questions amongst US allies about how the administration will reply to the growing armed forces danger of China, which has sought to boost its territorial footprint in the South China Sea in recent several years at the cost of US-aligned nations like Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei as perfectly as Vietnam — wherever Harris is scheduled to journey Tuesday.

Right before she departs Singapore, Harris will deliver a speech outlining the Biden administration’s vision for the region. In an obvious preview, Harris informed American sailors at Singapore’s Changi naval foundation Monday that “I do consider a large element of the heritage of the 21st century will be prepared about this incredibly region exactly where you now serve. And we want to be the types who are aiding to form and dictate that record.”

With Publish wires

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