US Defense Secretary To Visit Southeast Asia Later In July - Reports

US Defense Secretary to Visit Southeast Asia Later in July - Reports

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 20th July, 2021) US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin travel to three Southeast Asian nations later this month in the first visit by a senior Biden administration official to the area, Nikkei Asia reported.

Austin is scheduled to visit Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines in a move that echoes the National Security Council's call for a more robust US approach to the Indo-Pacific region that includes more cooperation with Southeast Asia, the report said on Monday.

The visit will take place amid ongoing tensions between Washington and its allies versus Beijing in the South China Sea.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed last Monday that an attack on the Philippines' armed forces would invoke US mutual defense commitments to them the report said.

Later on Monday, the Chinese military warned off a US destroyer operating in the South China Sea saying the ship was trespassing.

On Friday, US President Joe Biden talked during an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries meeting about the need for strengthened multilateral cooperation in the region. Biden reiterated the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and discussed opportunities to deepen US trade ties in the region.