Top US diplomat thanks Singapore for recent warship search and rescue, hurricane aid

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain involved in a collision with oil tanker Alnic MC. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - The Republic's response to the deadly collision of a United States warship was "overwhelmingly generous and kind", American charge d'affaires Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath said on Tuesday (Sept 12).

In her first public remarks since the incident involving the USS John S. McCain, she cited the "immediate and continuous air, personnel and maritime support" and the offers of help from regular Singaporeans.

"I wanted to take the opportunity to thank the Government and the people of Singapore for their generous support during that difficult moment," she said.

The former US naval officer, who has headed the American Embassy here since Mr Kirk Wagar left at the start of the US President Donald Trump's administration, noted: "It's often said that our greatest challenges reveal our closest friends, and that's what we were reminded (of) on Aug 21 and the days that followed."

She was speaking in an opening address at a business event organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore at the Four Seasons Singapore hotel.

Ms Syptak-Ramnath added: "That same concerned and uncalculating friendship was on display in more recent days, as Singapore became one of the first foreign governments to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas."

It was a throwback to Singaporean military aid during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she said, "another sign of the long-standing partnership that exists between our two countries".

Also present at the event was Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade), Mr Lim Hng Kiang, who said of Ms Syptak-Ramnath's remarks: "It shows the wide-ranging relations between the US and Singapore."

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