US and Singapore reaffirm strong defence relations amid Covid-19

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen during the video conference with US Defence Secretary Mark Esper on Aug 31, 2020. PHOTO: MINDEF

SINGAPORE - Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and United States Defence Secretary Mark Esper held a video conference on Monday (Aug 31), Singapore's Ministry of Defence said.

Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the excellent and longstanding defence relationship and mutually beneficial partnership.

During the meeting, Dr Ng and Mr Esper also reaffirmed the importance of the US' continued engagement of the region.

They discussed a wide range of regional and geopolitical developments, including the need for regional defence establishments to work closely to address common threats such as Covid-19 and terrorism.

They also spoke about the importance of maintaining the momentum of bilateral cooperation initiatives amid the pandemic.

Mindef said: "Both countries enjoy extensive defence interactions, including dialogues, military-to-military exchanges, training and cross-attendance of courses, and defence technology cooperation."

In September last year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and US President Donald Trump renewed the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding Regarding United States Use of Facilities in Singapore through the Protocol of Amendment, extending the agreement by another 15 years to 2035.

Last December, Dr Ng and Mr Esper signed an MOU concerning the establishment of a Republic of Singapore Air Force fighter training detachment in Guam. It is the RSAF's fourth such detachment in the US and covers the deployment of F-15SG and F-16 fighter aircraft and other supporting assets like the G550 Gulfstream to the Anderson Air Force Base for training.

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