Shanmugam and Kerry reaffirm bilateral relations

Singapore's Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam meets his US counterpart John Kerry at the State Department on the first day of his week-long visit to Washington. -- PHOTO: JEREMY AU YONG
Singapore's Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam meets his US counterpart John Kerry at the State Department on the first day of his week-long visit to Washington. -- PHOTO: JEREMY AU YONG

Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam met his US counterpart John Kerry at the State Department on the first day of his week-long visit to the American capital.

The two discussed bilateral ties but also exchanged views on the recent tensions between China and Vietnam over the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

In welcoming Mr Shanmugam to the US capital for the start of a week-long trip, Mr Kerry thanked Singapore for its strong strategic partnership with the US.

"There are many issues of concern where we think alike and we work in partnership. One of the most recent, obviously, is the Chinese challenge to the Paracel Islands. And we are particularly concerned - all nations that are engaged in navigation and traffic within the South China Sea, the East China Sea, are deeply concerned about this aggressive act."

Mr Shanmugam also emphasised the importance of peace.

"I've just come from the Asean meeting. Asean foreign ministers issued a statement. We do not want tension. We want a code of conduct to be progressed with. We need a situation where parties resolve their disputes and differences in a way that's acceptable to all..."

Already simmering tensions in the South China Sea spiked last week when Chinese and Vietnamese ships clashed over an oil rig that China has built near the disputed Paracel islands.

Apart from maritime issues, Mr Shanmugam and Mr Kerry are also expected to discuss ways to enhance the US-Singapore partnership, especially in terms of economic links.

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