Chinese social media users despise Kamala Harris’ visit to S’pore – Mothership.SG
US Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Singapore on Sunday, August 22nd, and will leave for Vietnam on Tuesday, August 24th.
It was her first official visit to Asia.
During her visit, she met President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, visited the Changi Naval Base and also had an orchid named after her.
Chinese respond online
Harris’ visit met with contempt from Chinese social media users, who made derogatory remarks about them and accused the US of trying to meddle in regional affairs and gain the support of other countries to counter China’s influence .
For example, one Weibo user said, “A leopard doesn’t change its spots, it caused trouble in Southeast Asia.”
In addition to comments that led to personal attacks on Harris as a black woman of South Asian descent, many also ridiculed Singapore, accusing it of doing something allegedly inappropriate for its height.
One comment read: “The whole country is one city and they still want to provide support.”
Another commentator said: “Singapore as a small country has its own chances of surviving as a small country. Everything is fine as long as it doesn’t choose either side.”
Another Weibo user, who noted that Harris’ tour of Singapore and Vietnam was a visit from the most senior US official to date, quoted Prime Minister Lee on the comments he made at the Aspen Security Forum in early August.
Prime Minister Lee had compared China to “a formidable enemy” and warned the US not to underestimate the country.
Some internet users also declined Harris’ visit, with one Weibo user saying, “(Singapore) made up her mind before she came and gave her enough face after her visit. That should be enough when you go to the next stop. ” . ”
Chinese nationalist media turned down Harris’ visit
Hawkish, ultra-nationalist pro-government media Global Times (GT) also tried to downplay Harris’ visit, saying that Singapore “will draw a line” between “useful” and “exploited”.
The media company quoted Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan’s comments in a Sunday interview with CNA.
Vivian had said that while Singapore has shown its relevance to both great powers, there is a difference between “being useful and being exploited”.
“We’re not going to be one or the other’s stalking horse to push negative agendas,” he said.
GT said Harris “avoided a Singaporean journalist’s question about US engagement with allies” and reiterated “weak” topics of conversation about US partnerships in Southeast Asia.
In two other comments, GT also claimed that the US “wooed” Singapore was “ineffective” after the “Afghan fiasco” and that the US attempt to “contain” China was “wishful thinking”.
China questions US credibility towards its allies
After the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, China has expressed doubts about US engagement with its allies such as Ukraine, Japan and South Korea.
In particular, she highlighted Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing regards as part of Chinese territory, raising doubts as to whether the US would defend Taiwan in the event of war.
The narrative that “Afghanistan today” will be “Taiwan tomorrow” has even been repeated by some Taiwanese.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and politicians on both sides of the political spectrum have since rejected such a narrative, saying that Taiwan cannot rely on outside powers for its own defense.
The Afghan chaos overshadows Harris’ visit to Singapore
Harris’ visit to Singapore came amid the international fallout the US is facing over its haphazard withdrawal from Afghanistan after two decades of occupation.
During a press conference on Aug. 23, Harris emphasized the US’s commitment to its allies and partners, including Singapore, with which the US has a “longstanding relationship,” she said.
Prime Minister Lee expressed his support for continued US engagement in the region, saying that despite the ups and downs in the region, the US has remained a “good and constructive influence” as a “regional guarantor of security and a supporter of prosperity”. .
He also expressed his gratitude for the US intervention, which “prevented terrorist groups from using Afghanistan as a safe base for 20 years”.
In addition, both countries emphasized the importance of observing a rules-based international order in the region.
Harris also oversaw the signing of letters of intent between the two countries that will strengthen collaboration on issues such as cyber defense, climate change and environmental policy.
Top image adapted via the Prime Minister’s Office & Weibo