S'pore, US to N. Korea: Stop further nuke tests

Singapore and the United States yesterday reiterated their calls for North Korea to abide by its international commitments, in the light of the nuclear test the regime announced at the start of the year.

Meeting in Singapore for the fourth US-Singapore Strategic Partnership Dialogue, the two sides expressed grave concern about Pyongyang's conduct and urged it to cease further tests.

A statement from Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said the test was a "clear breach of the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, and carried serious implications on the peace and stability of the region".

Yesterday's dialogue was chaired by MFA Permanent Secretary Chee Wee Kiong and the top US diplomat to Asia, Mr Danny Russel.

Pyongyang aside, US and Singapore leaders discussed a range of topics, from the enhanced defence agreement recently signed by both sides, to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal to territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

On the South China Sea, the two sides reaffirmed the "importance of maintaining regional peace and stability and upholding the freedom of navigation", while once again urging all parties to work expeditiously towards a binding code of conduct.

With the completion of the landmark TPP deal last year, the two countries also recognised the need for all parties to ratify it quickly.

On defence, the two sides said they looked forward to expanding cooperation on cyber security.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Singapore and the US. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is expected to attend at least two summits in the US this year, while Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan is set to make his introductory visit.

Jeremy Au Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore, US to N. Korea: Stop further nuke tests'. Print Edition | Subscribe