Singapore, US note shared desire to counter extremism, boost cyber security cooperation

SINGAPORE and the United States have noted a mutual desire to ward off all forms of violent extremism and opportunities to cooperate on cyber security, among other matters discussed during a meeting of Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Permanent Secretary Chee Wee Kiong and US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel in Washington on Friday.

It comes as both nations have formed a partnership as part of a global coalition to stand against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and the US' cyber security push gathers pace.

Both nations "will continue to work with the United Nations and other partners to address the challenges posed by violent extremism and foreign terrorist fighters", said the Singapore MFA in a statement released on Saturday.

The two diplomats also recognised the countries' bilateral cooperation on a number of issues, and noted that cooperation on cyber security could be increased.

Their meeting was ahead of the third United States-Singapore Strategic Partnership Dialogue, which they are co-chairing. The dialogue "serves to enhance the excellent bilateral cooperation and strategic partnership" between the nations, according to the MFA statement.

Both sides also renewed their commitment to the Trans-Pacific Partnership - in a discussion of its strategic importance and fulfilment of their common interests on economic, investment and trade issues - and their support for regional economic institutions like the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec).

They also noted the successful implementing of a number of agreements and collaborations, including the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, Singapore-US Third Country Training Program and Strategic Framework Agreement.

Mr Chee and Mr Russel, agreeing on the importance of regional peace and stability, urged all countries with interests in the South China Sea to exercise restraint in their conduct and resolve disputes peacefully according to international law, the MFA statement said.

Finally, both sides cheered the two countries' relations, reflected in a number of high-level exchanges, including visits to the United States by top Singapore officials including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam, Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen and Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat. They looked forward to more interaction this year, the 50th anniversary of Singapore's independence.