SINGAPORE - A group of six US congressmen led by Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi called on President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday (Aug 1).
Madam Halimah and the congressional delegation affirmed the excellent and longstanding partnership between Singapore and the United States, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said.
Madam Halimah said in a Facebook post after their meeting at the Istana: "We discussed ways to deepen educational and people-to-people ties between our two countries, and welcomed cooperation in new and forward-looking areas like climate change. We also exchanged views on fostering social cohesion and creating greater opportunities for women."
Singapore is the first stop of the congressional delegation's visit to the Indo-Pacific region this week.
Mrs Pelosi had, in a statement on Sunday, said the visit - which will include stops in Malaysia, South Korea and Japan - aimed to reaffirm America's commitment to its allies and friends in the region.
The delegation also met PM Lee and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan at the Istana.
PM Lee, who had met Mrs Pelosi in Washington in March and May, said in a Facebook post that he was glad to reciprocate her hospitality.
He said he had a good meeting with the delegation, during which they discussed deepening the US’ economic engagement, including through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), as well as key issues such as Asean-US cooperation, cross-strait relations and climate change.
“This is the first Codel (congressional delegation) to visit Singapore since the pandemic, and we value Congress’ strong support for our bilateral partnership with the US, and for a sustained US presence in the region,” he said.
“I look forward to welcoming more Codels to Singapore."
During their meeting, both sides also affirmed the deep and multi-faceted partnership between Singapore and the US, underpinned by robust cooperation across the defence, security and economic spheres, said MFA.
“PM welcomed the commitment expressed by the congressional delegation for strong US engagement of the region,” added MFA.
PM Lee and the delegation also exchanged views on key international and regional developments, including the war in Ukraine, cross-strait relations and climate change, the ministry said.
MFA added: “PM Lee highlighted the importance of stable US-China relations for regional peace and security.”
Singapore was among 12 countries at the virtual launch of the IPEF, a US-led initiative to strengthen economic cooperation with the region, in May.
The Republic is also a major security cooperation partner of the US, the only country to have that designation.
On Monday, the congressional delegation also had meetings with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, and Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Mr Wong said in a Facebook post that both sides affirmed the crucial role of the US in providing the framework for regional peace, stability and progress.
“We look forward to deepening our cooperation with the US in many areas including the green economy, sustainable finance and the digital economy,” he added.
“We are grateful for our many friends in Congress, who play an important role in strengthening ties between Singapore and the United States.”
Meanwhile, Mr Teo said that during his meeting with the delegation, they discussed common security challenges and reaffirmed the excellent and mutually beneficial partnership between both countries and their defence and security establishments.
“I expressed Singapore’s appreciation for the US’ strong support for the SAF’s (Singapore Armed Forces) training in the US,” he said.
“We also exchanged views on mitigation measures like accelerating the renewable energy transition and adopting innovative green solutions by harnessing new technologies, and adaptation to sea level rise. We also discussed the importance of Asean and its role in bringing countries together,” he added.
The visit to Singapore is the first by a congressional delegation in recent memory to be led by a House Speaker, who ranks third in order of protocol after the US president and vice-president.
Besides Mrs Pelosi, the delegation comprises chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Gregory Meeks of New York, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee Mark Takano of California, congresswoman Suzan DelBene of Washington, congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, and congressman Andy Kim of New Jersey.
All six members are from the Democratic Party.
The US is the largest foreign direct investor in Singapore, with an investment stock of $528 billion in 2020, and Singapore is the US' second-largest Asian investor after Japan, with investment stock valued at US$65.2 billion (S$89.7 billion) in 2020.
The delegation's visit follows several high-level meetings between leaders on both sides, including Vice-President Kamala Harris' official visit to Singapore in August last year and PM Lee's working visit to Washington in March this year - during which he met US President Joe Biden and Ms Harris, and was hosted to lunch with US congressional leaders by Mrs Pelosi.
PM Lee was also in Washington in May this year for the Asean-US Special Summit, where he met Mr Biden, Ms Harris as well as Mrs Pelosi and other key members of Congress.