PM Lee Hsien Loong swops Instagram accounts with the White House for a day

Clockwise from left: PM Lee mingling with the crowd on the White House's South Lawn; PM Lee, Mrs Lee, President Obama and Mrs Obama waving to the crowd; and PM Lee in the principal suite at Blair House.
Clockwise from left: PM Lee mingling with the crowd on the White House's South Lawn; PM Lee, Mrs Lee, President Obama and Mrs Obama waving to the crowd; and PM Lee in the principal suite at Blair House. PHOTOS: INSTAGRAM

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong exchanged Instagram accounts with the White House on the third day of his official visit to the United States, taking the opportunity to reach out to Americans when he took over the account.

His first post on it on Tuesday afternoon (Wednesday morning Singapore time) was a photo of him seated on a sofa in the principal suite at Blair House, the President's Guest House where he is staying.

PM Lee wrote in the post: "The US and Singapore enjoy a close and longstanding friendship. We cooperate in many areas, from defense to trade. Stay tuned today as the White House and I do a mutual takeover of our Instagram accounts!"

He spotlighted the people he met at the Arlington National Cemetery in his next post, and was seen in further posts mingling with the crowd gathered to witness his welcome ceremony on the White House's South Lawn.

His final post - a photo of him and President Barack Obama at a press conference in the White House - expressed optimism of strengthening Singapore-US ties.

The White House, meanwhile, chose to give PM Lee's followers a glimpse into its preparations for the state dinner on Tuesday evening.

One photo showed a chef working and carrying an edible dessert tray, while another explained the choice of yellow decorations in the State Dining Room to symbolise the friendship between the two countries.

PM Lee is not the first person to take over the White House's Instagram account. Mr Obama, former basketball star Shaquille O'Neal and a group of professional climbers had previously helmed it for varying periods.

The White House's account has over 2.5 million followers, while PM Lee's followers stand at around 239,000.