Kamala Harris dives into Asian diplomacy amid questions back home about her political future

Palawan, Philippines

Vice President Kamala Harris is sticking to her script when responding to what Democrats hope will be their biggest vote-getter: Donald Trump and his third White House bid.

“The president has said that he intends to run and if he does, I will run with him,” he told CNN on Tuesday – the first time he was asked about Trump’s 2024 candidacy, which he over out last week. He spoke to reporters aboard the Teresa Magbanua, a Philippine Coast Guard ship off the coast of China.

His cautious response at the end of a week-long trip to Thailand and the Philippines could echo the sentiments of Harris’ vice president in his second year: toe the line but don’t make waves.

As he returned from Asia, he was stuck in the uncertainty of his place in the party if the now 80-year-old President Joe Biden does not seek a second term. The president must consider the decision about Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays with the family, whose advice he will seek to get to the polls.

Harris’ trip to Asia – his third trip to the region since taking office – is another way for America’s first South Asian president to showcase his ability to lead the way. always without compromising his role as No. 2.

He attended many bilateral meetings and receptions with Asian leaders and presidents alike, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, called for a meeting with the Indo-Pacific after North Korea has developed a long-range missile ahead of time. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ meeting has begun and has made a symbolic trip to the Philippine archipelago island of Palawan, which could lead to tensions with China.

With Biden in Washington, D.C., for his granddaughter’s wedding, Harris continued his role as his best representative in a trip to build relationships with many Asian friends. and cast the US as the region’s best option for financial stability – part of an ongoing effort to counter China’s rise.

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The vice president called this trip a success, when he announced his policy in the region, trying to establish himself as the undisputed leader who spoke to Biden in his absence.

“It is very important that we are here today to reiterate the United States’ commitment to international laws and standards. This trip and this visit are very special. emphasized the strength and importance of our relationship with the Philippines both as it relates to trade and security issues,” Harris said in Palawan, in a speech in which he rejected China’s aggression in the South China Sea and announced ameant economic plans to strengthen the country’s system and ensure social security.

However, Harris’s events are strictly written and the trip itself, made very beautiful.

Harris’s ‘brief meeting’ with Xi, as his office described it, was his first meeting with a world leader, taking place on the sidelines of APEC. It was likely Harris’ best moment of the trip, even if there was no US press in the room to prove it. The vice president met with him just a week after Biden’s first personal bilateral meeting with Xi, which lasted three hours.

But unlike the president, who can talk as much as he likes, there is a clear limit to how much Harris likes to share. He repeatedly refused to go beyond what was written in the carefully calculated plan of his meeting with Xi.

“We have discussed that we are opening lines of communication, that we are not looking for conflict or opposition, but we welcome competition,” Harris told reporters. in a press conference to reveal his trip to Thailand, dodging twice whether that discussion affected North Korea. or Taiwan.

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If the goal is to stay gaffe free, the preparation seems to have paid off. The Republican National Committee just took off on Twitter at a time that may have been awkward but didn’t lend itself to real criticism — a poor treatment for one of their most embattled Democrats.

On the first day of APEC, “very concerned” Harris rushed the aides to negotiate a last-minute unannounced emergency meeting with Indo-Pacific allies in the Indo-Pacific region. -Pacific, according to the senior commander, after North Korea launched a long ballistic missile. missile on Friday morning – its second peak time of the trip.

Harris told his team when he was briefed on the latest announcement, a White House official said using the Indo-Pacific countries at the APEC Leaders’ Meeting like that. At the head of the table in a small room in the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, the vice president accused North Korea of ​​”violating many UN resolutions.”

“The actions taken by North Korea recently are a violation of many UN Security resolutions. It destabilizes the stability in the region, and unnecessarily increases tensions. We decide for these actions, and we again call on North Korea to stop any further illegal activities,” Harris said. “On behalf of the United States, I reaffirm our commitment to our Indo Pacific Alliance.”

His announcement followed one of the National Security Council’s announcement hours earlier on Biden’s behalf, almost to the tee.

The last scene of the meeting made the assistants move quickly to the American press, but there was no time to set up the camera first, the press from America, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Korea has fought for the right angle – making the photo-op visuals so that time trembles and questions.

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However, it was an almost presidential moment for Harris as he recalled the emergency personal meeting Biden held with top friends during his final days. at the G20 in Indonesia, when a Russian missile fell within the border of one. NATO allies.

But the president’s posturing has limits. During the trip, the vice president only answered political and policy questions on two separate occasions from the team of all-female reporters with him from Washington – eat two or three questions at a time.

Harris didn’t stray from the rhetoric in his response, careful not to move beyond Biden’s position on various issues.

Harris has long sought to express his own interests and establish his own line as a junior vice president with potential presidential ambitions.

At home, he took the lead in enforcing abortion rights. And on the trip, Harris told aides he wanted to go outside the box when the time came. An important part of that is meeting with women and families in different countries.

That lesson was revealed in Manila, when she participated in a small talk about women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship in the lobby of the Sofitel.

“For the issue of women’s health, I think we all know, and I think very strongly, you raise a woman’s business, her family will be raised. It the community will be wiped out,” Harris said as the Filipino women agreed. “All nations will benefit. Improve the economy of women, and all the benefits of society. ”

In the Palawan fishing village of Tagburos, Harris watched women clean fish in front of a picturesque backdrop to discuss the damage caused by climate change and illegal fishing in the village. .

“Hello ma’am,” they shouted as he approached. Harris’ translator describes women as his best friends.

“Best friends,” Harris said, with a laugh and a wave.


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