In Vietnam, Harris must not ignore human rights for geopolitics

On Monday, August 23, US Vice President Kamala Harris started her diplomatic trip to Southeast Asia on a colourful note thanks to a bouquet of hybrid orchids presented as a gift from Singaporean dignitaries.

The new variety of purple flowers was even named after the vice president, who is visiting the region as the third and now highest-profile member of the Biden administration. But despite this light-hearted beginning, Harris’s trip, which took her first to Singapore on Sunday before her two-day trip to Vietnam starting today, carries significant geopolitical weight in a region battered in recent years by government attacks on freedom of expression, crackdowns on independent media and increasing intolerance for political dissent.

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