SINGAPORE - Singapore and the United States have reaffirmed their strong bilateral ties in defence and the desire to deepen them further.
In a Facebook post about his introductory phone call with US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin on Wednesday (March 3), Singapore's Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen said: "We both affirmed our strong bilateral defence ties and desire to deepen them further. We discussed security challenges in our region, including the persistent threat of terrorism."
Dr Ng added that he looks forward to working closely with Mr Austin to ensure that this region continues to enjoy stability, peace and progress.
"It was a meeting of minds, shared perspectives and values on the foundations of stability and progress - the rule of law, peaceful settlement of disputes, multilateral co-operation and mutual benefits, respect for human rights, and democratic processes - among them," Dr Ng wrote about their phone conversation.
The minister also congratulated Mr Austin on his appointment.
"I really enjoyed speaking with him," Dr Ng added.
In a statement on Wednesday, the US Department of Defence said the two leaders reaffirmed their mutual commitment to the US-Singapore bilateral defence relationship.
Mr Austin also expressed appreciation for the regional access that Singapore provides to US forces, and both leaders expressed interest in further collaboration on US force posture and counterterrorism.
The two leaders also exchanged views on the regional security environment.
In their discussion on the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Austin applauded the strong measures that Singapore has taken with its response efforts, the statement said.
Mr Austin and Dr Ng also noted that they look forward to meeting in person, it added.