Ng Eng Hen meets US and Chinese counterparts ahead of regional defence summit

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen with Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe ahead of the 12th Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) and the 5th Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/NG ENG HEN

SINGAPORE - Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen met his counterparts from the United States and China on Thursday (Oct 18) where they discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations and regional defence collaboration.

His meeting with US Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe took place ahead of the 12th Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) and the 5th Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus.

The ADMM, a key platform for dialogue on regional security issues, will be held on Friday at the Shangri-La Hotel, and the ADMM-Plus on Saturday.

It is the first time that Singapore is chairing the ADMM-Plus since it was established in 2010, and the second time chairing ADMM since it began in 2006.

ADMM-Plus comprises the 10 Asean states and eight other countries - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

In the meeting with Mr Mattis, both sides reaffirmed the excellent and longstanding bilateral defence relationship, as well as Singapore's longstanding support for the US' regional presence, said a Ministry of Defence (Mindef) statement on Thursday.

Dr Ng and Mr Mattis also discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations, including cooperation to enhance regional counter-terrorism intelligence sharing, and exchanged views on regional and international security issues.

Dr Ng hosted lunch for General Wei - who is also a State Councillor - where they reaffirmed the warm and friendly defence relations between the two countries, said the statement.

Both discussed ways to enhance bilateral defence cooperation and reiterated the importance of China's continued engagement of Asean and the region to enhance peace and stability.

Gen Wei welcomed Dr Ng's visit to China for the Asean-China Maritime Exercise and the 8th Beijing Xiangshan Forum, both taking place next week.

Dr Ng also met on Thursday his Asean counterparts, including Malaysia Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, who is in Singapore for his introductory visit.

The other Asean ministers were: Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh; Laos Minister of National Defence Chansamone Chanyalath; Myanmar Union Minister for Defence Sein Win; and Vietnamese Minister of National Defence Ngo Xuan Lich.

Dr Ng thanked them for their strong support for Singapore's 2018 ADMM and ADMM-Plus chairmanship, and reaffirmed Singapore's friendly defence relationships with these countries, said Mindef.

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