Singapore, US discuss cooperation in key areas, including defence and economic ties

The two countries also exchanged views on regional and global developments, including recent tensions in the Taiwan Strait. PHOTO: ST FILE

WASHINGTON - Singapore and the United States discussed furthering their cooperation in defence and economic ties, climate change, and other key areas in a dialogue on Tuesday, with both sides signalling a desire to build even closer ties with each other.

The two countries also exchanged views on regional and global developments, including recent tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

Tuesday’s dialogue was the fifth in a series held under the Singapore-US Strategic Partnership, and came on the back of recent high-level visits. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visited Washington in March and May this year, while US Vice President Kamala Harris made a trip to Singapore in August last year.

The dialogue was co-chaired by US Assistant Secretary of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink and Singapore’s Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Albert Chua, and took place in Washington DC.

In a joint statement that covered a wide range of bilateral ties and global developments, Singapore and the US both underscored the importance of upholding the rules-based international order.

A top concern was the recent tensions in the Taiwan Strait, a top military flashpoint in the region. China regards Taiwan as a renegade province to be united with by force if necessary and has accused the US of taking provocative actions, while the US has slammed China for increasingly aggressive military activities in the area.

“The US stressed that there is no change to its long-standing US’ One China policy, and reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, called for cross-Strait differences to be resolved peacefully, and expressed its opposition to unilateral changes to the status quo,” said the statement.

“Singapore highlighted that stable US-China relations are vital to global and regional peace, stability and prosperity, and reiterated the importance of the US and China maintaining open channels of communication to reduce risks of misunderstanding and miscalculations,” it added.

Both countries condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Russia’s attempted annexation of Ukrainian territory, and reaffirmed the steps taken by each side to impose their own financial sanctions and export controls against Russian entities.

The crisis in Myanmar following last year’s military coup, conflict resolution in the South China Sea, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine were among other regional and global issues discussed.

Both countries also applauded the strengthening of ties between the US and Asean, and said they looked forward to finalising the Asean-US Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, an upgrading of ties slated to take place in November.

“The United States seeks cooperation with all partners who share our objectives in the Indo-Pacific region, and to that end, we welcome the Quad’s support for Asean centrality,” said the statement.

Singapore also looked forward to working with the US on its hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2023.

They also reaffirmed their strong defence, economic and trade ties. Both countries are part of the US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity earlier this year, and said they looked forward to its progress.

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“Singapore welcomed the United States’ continued and constructive engagement in the region, and both sides emphasised the shared commitment to a free, open, fair, inclusive, interconnected, resilient, stable, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” they said.

The US and Singapore also pledged to continue supporting efforts to secure resilient global supply chains, and affirmed the importance of ensuring an open, accessible, and secure technology and communication ecosystem.

They also discussed new areas for cooperation, from climate and clean energy to cybersecurity, and discussed several joint programmes they have in those areas.

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