U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Singapore and Vietnam in August to strengthen relationships and expand economic cooperation with the two "critical" partners in the Indo-Pacific region, the White House said Friday.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during her talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in Washington on April 16, 2021, wearing masks amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The White House said the upcoming visit is aimed at "deepening our engagement in Southeast Asia," a region that has been directly affected by China's growing clout. Harris will be the first sitting U.S. vice president ever to visit Vietnam.

During the trip, the vice president will meet with the leaders of both governments on issues including regional security, the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and efforts to promote a rules-based international order, the White House said.

The administration of President Joe Biden is working to enlist U.S. allies and partners to counter China's economic and military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific. The upcoming trip can be seen as part of efforts to increase U.S. presence in Southeast Asia.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is just ending a trip that took him to Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines, which made him the first member of Biden's Cabinet to visit Southeast Asia.