President Tan, PM Lee congratulate Trump

President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have sent congratulatory letters to United States President Donald Trump on his inauguration. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have sent congratulatory letters to United States President Donald Trump on his inauguration.

"As you begin your presidency, you will have the opportunity to further strengthen the United States' relationships with its many friends and partners around the world," Dr Tan wrote.

"Many countries continue to draw inspiration from the United States' dynamism, resilience and innovation," he said.

He noted that the US has played an "indispensable role" in the Asia-Pacific since World War II, contributing "in no small measure to the peace and prosperity that all countries in the region enjoy today".

Singapore, he said, will continue to work with the US to advance the shared interests of both in the region, which "remains an important engine of the global economy".

Dr Tan highlighted the longstanding and multi-faceted bilateral ties, which have "grown from strength to strength" through a close strategic partnership between their militaries, and through flourishing business and people-to-people ties.

"These exchanges and strong ties have contributed to the security and prosperity of our two countries. Singapore looks forward to working with your administration to broaden and deepen our bilateral relationship," he said, adding that he looked forward to welcoming Mr Trump and his family to Singapore.

In his letter to Mr Trump, PM Lee said he looked forward to working together to advance both countries' shared interests, saying: "You have assembled a strong team whom I am confident will implement your vision of a stronger and more prosperous America."

He noted they had discussed the strong bilateral ties when they spoke after Mr Trump's victory, adding that the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement had been a "remarkable success", facilitating investments, increasing exports and creating thousands of jobs in both nations.

"Over 20,000 American SMEs have benefited from bilateral trade, with the United States consistently maintaining a trade surplus with Singapore," he said.

"Asia will continue to drive global economic growth, and the growing middle class in South-east Asia provides exciting opportunities for further cooperation between American and Singaporean businesses."

Mr Lee added that both sides had "built up excellent security ties", with their defence partnership helping the US maintain its longstanding presence in the region. Both have worked to address global threats, especially terrorism.

"Terrorist groups that recruit and operate in South-east Asia are of deep concern," he added, noting Singapore was the first South-east Asian nation to join the coalition to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the only Asian country to have contributed military assets.

Both countries' militaries and security agencies work closely via regular exercises and platforms, and Singapore is committed to strengthening these, Mr Lee said, adding that he looked forward to meeting soon to continue the conversation.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2017, with the headline President Tan, PM Lee congratulate Trump. Subscribe