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U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris touched down in Singapore on Sunday.
It's the first leg of a diplomatic trip aimed at establishing deeper ties with Southeast Asia.
And it comes in the shadow of the U.S. withdrawal from and the collapse of Afghanistan.
That leaves allies questioning the credibility of U.S. foreign policy promises.
On Monday, Harris will meet Singapore's president and prime minister and deliver remarks on a U.S. combat ship visiting the nation.
Her trip aims to counter China's growing influence in Southeast Asia, a region Washington considers key tocurtailingChinese expansion.
A senior White House official told Reuters this month the vice president's focus would be on defending international rules in the South China Sea, strengthening U.S. regional leadership and expanding security cooperation.
On Tuesday, Harris will arrive in Vietnam, becoming the first U.S. vice president ever to visit that nation.