Kamala Harris starts historic Southeast Asia trip amid backdrop of Afghanistan crisis

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Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Singapore on Sunday, as she began her trip to Southeast Asia.

Why it matters: As the crisis in Afghanistan continues to unfold, a Biden administration official said Harris "will make clear" during her visit "that we do have an enduring commitment" to Asia.

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  • Harris is the highest-ranking Biden official to travel to Asia and she's expected to try and rally an international coalition to curb the influence of China's government.

  • She's due to arrive in Hanoi late Tuesday — marking the first time a U.S. vice president has visited Vietnam.

The big picture: Harris departed Washington, D.C., on Friday, refueling in Alaska and Japan.

What they're saying: Southeast Asia was "strategically important and economically important" to the U.S., a White House official said, per AFP.

  • "That hasn't changed with Afghanistan," the official added.

What to expect: "The vice president will be focused on three keys areas during this trip — we call it the three-legged stool, that is security, economic partnership and global health," a senior official said, per a pool report.

  • "She will talk about addressing the threat of climate change and reaffirm our nation’s values and commitment to the rules-based international water, workers rights and human rights."

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