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Vice President Kamala Harris arrives at Paya Lebar Base airport in Singapore on Sunday. Photo: Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Singapore on Sunday, as she began her trip to Southeast Asia.

Why it matters: As the crisis in Afghanistan continues to unfold, a Biden administration official said Harris "will make clear" during her visit "that we do have an enduring commitment" to Asia.

  • Harris is the highest-ranking Biden official to travel to Asia and she's expected to try and rally an international coalition to curb the influence of China's government.
  • She's due to arrive in Hanoi late Tuesday — marking the first time a U.S. vice president has visited Vietnam.

The big picture: Harris departed Washington, D.C., on Friday, refueling in Alaska and Japan.

What they're saying: Southeast Asia was "strategically important and economically important" to the U.S., a White House official said, per AFP.

  • "That hasn't changed with Afghanistan," the official added.

What to expect: "The vice president will be focused on three keys areas during this trip — we call it the three-legged stool, that is security, economic partnership and global health," a senior official said, per a pool report.

  • "She will talk about addressing the threat of climate change and reaffirm our nation’s values and commitment to the rules-based international water, workers rights and human rights."

Go deeper

Updated Oct 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

First look: Harris wants more union membership in fed workforce

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a virtual town hall with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on Oct. 14. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will today announce new guidelines to encourage federal workers to join unions, according to a White House official.

Why it matters: The Biden administration wants to bolster the collective bargaining power of workers across the country – and they are starting at home, with changes in the federal workforce.

Updated 7 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.