US lawmakers call on PM Lee Hsien Loong, Heng Swee Keat and ministers on three-day visit to Singapore

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat with the delegation of United States lawmakers in Singapore on Aug 7, 2019.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat with the delegation of United States lawmakers in Singapore on Aug 7, 2019.PHOTO: HENG SWEE KEAT/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - A delegation of United States lawmakers met Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Wednesday (Aug 7), the second day of their three-day visit to Singapore.

Mr Heng said in a Facebook post that they enjoyed a wide-ranging discussion and reaffirmed the long-standing and multi-faceted cooperation between Singapore and the US.

He added: "The US is an important partner for many countries in Asia, and we value their presence here. We have consistently supported the US' engagement of the region, including as a node to Asean and the rest of Asia for US companies and talent."

The seven-member delegation is led by Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and Senate Republican Policy chairman.

The other members are Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), Senator Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Representative Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma) and Representative Jason Smith (R-Missouri).

The delegation also called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana on Tuesday to discuss the relationship between Singapore and the US across the economic, defence and security spheres, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Mr Lee and the US delegation also exchanged views on recent regional and international developments.

On Wednesday, the delegation also met Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen to discuss the defence relationship between Singapore and the US, a Ministry of Defence (Mindef) statement said.

Dr Ng thanked the US for its continued support for the Singapore Armed Forces' overseas training as well as access to US technology, and the Americans expressed their gratitude for Singapore's long-standing support for the US' presence in the region.

Both sides also discussed geopolitical developments and the importance of the US' continued regional presence and engagement, Mindef added.

"Amid all the turbulence and uncertainty, it is important to step up our engagement with international leaders," Dr Ng said in a Facebook post.

"We reaffirmed the excellent and long-standing bilateral defence ties between the US and Singapore and discussed ways to maintain stability in this region. I encouraged more of such delegations from the US Congress to visit us again."

On Wednesday, the delegation also met Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, who hosted them to breakfast, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, who hosted them to lunch.

"We affirmed the strong economic partnership between both our countries," Mr Chan said in a Facebook post.

"Singapore is one of the largest investors in the US with companies and investments in more than 30 US states, while the US is our largest foreign investor. I look forward to greater collaboration with the US for the mutual benefit of our businesses and workers."