SINGAPORE: United States Vice President Kamala Harris will have an orchid named after her during her official visit to Singapore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement on Friday (Aug 20).
“Vice President Harris will have a new orchid hybrid named in her honour during a ceremony at the Istana,” MFA said.
Ms Harris, who will be in Singapore from Sunday to Tuesday, will call on President Halimah Yacob and meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong before holding a joint press conference with Mr Lee.
This will be Ms Harris’ first visit to Asia as Vice President and she will also be visiting Vietnam. Ms Harris’ trip to Asia will show US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and that the US is in the region to stay, senior US administration officials said on Friday morning.
In Singapore, Ms Harris will meet representatives from various sectors to discuss ways to deepen bilateral cooperation in multiple areas, including defence, cybersecurity, digital trade, climate change and the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She will also visit Changi Naval Base and board the US littoral combat ship USS Tulsa, where she will deliver her remarks to US sailors.
On Tuesday, Ms Harris will deliver a policy speech and participate in a roundtable with the business community, MFA said. This will involve Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong.
Ms Harris joins a long line of visiting heads of state and distinguished guests who have had orchids named after them in what Singapore has called “orchid diplomacy”.
The “exclusive gesture” helps promote goodwill and build bilateral ties between Singapore and other countries, the National Parks Board said on its website.
The first orchid named after a VIP is the Aranthera Anne Black in 1956. Lady Anne Black was the wife of Sir Robert Black, a former governor of Singapore.
Dignitaries who have been given this honour include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and former South African president Nelson Mandela.
Current US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill also have an orchid named after them - Dendrobium Joe and Jill Biden - during an official visit to Singapore in 2013, when Mr Biden was vice president.