Vivian Balakrishnan, Mike Pompeo reaffirm S'pore-US bilateral ties, discuss Covid-19 and South China Sea in phone call

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed on the importance of ensuring that vaccines will be made available globally, among other matters.
Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed on the importance of ensuring that vaccines will be made available globally, among other matters.PHOTOS: GAVIN FOO, AFP

SINGAPORE - Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan received a telephone call from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Tuesday (Aug 4).

Both sides reaffirmed the excellent and longstanding ties between Singapore and the United States, underpinned by strong cooperation in economic, defence and security matters.

Dr Balakrishnan welcomed the United States' sustained, constructive and stabilising presence in the region and its continued engagement and efforts to strengthen cooperation with regional partners and Asean, including to overcome the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Balakrishnan and Mr Pompeo agreed on the importance of ensuring that vaccines will be made available globally. They also discussed collaboration in the research and development, manufacturing and distribution of vaccines, and the possibility of leveraging the strong US commercial presence in Singapore, including in pharmaceuticals, to this end.

Both sides welcomed the new areas of bilateral cooperation in infrastructure and trade, as well as customs facilitation, which will increase bilateral trade and strengthen the United States' economic engagement of South-east Asia.

On developments in the South China Sea, Dr Balakrishnan reaffirmed Singapore's consistent and longstanding position. Singapore is not a claimant state and does not take sides on the competing territorial claims. Singapore's key interest is in maintaining peace and stability in one of the world's busiest waterways. Singapore upholds the right of all states to freedom of navigation and overflight, as well as supports the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

According to US State Department principal deputy spokesman Cale Brown, Mr Pompeo reiterated US support for South-east Asian states upholding their sovereign rights and interests under international law, and he underscored US opposition to China’s efforts to use coercion to push its unlawful South China Sea maritime claims.