S’pore, US discuss deepening defence cooperation, reaffirms excellent ties

Dr Ng Eng Hen with former US secretary of defence James Mattis in Washington on Nov 3, 2021. PHOTO: MINDEF
Dr Ng talking to former undersecretary of defence for policy Michele Flournoy (right) in Washington on Nov 3, 2021. PHOTO: MINDEF
Dr Ng with Senator Tom Cotton in Washington on Nov 3, 2021. PHOTO: MINDEF
Dr Ng with Senator Tammy Duckworth in Washington on Nov 3, 2021. PHOTO: MINDEF

WASHINGTON - Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen met his American counterpart Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday (Nov 3) at the Pentagon, where they discussed ways to strengthen defence cooperation between their countries.

The leaders reaffirmed Singapore and the United States' excellent bilateral defence relationship and mutually beneficial partnership, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

Dr Ng, who is on a working visit to Washington that ends on Thursday, expressed appreciation for the US' longstanding support for the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF) overseas training in America, said Mindef.

Mr Austin also expressed the US' appreciation for the personnel and a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft that Singapore deployed in support of US evacuation operations in Afghanistan.

The SAF transported more than 2,000 evacuees relocated in Qatar to Germany.

"Both sides discussed ways to strengthen cooperation between both defence establishments," said Mindef.

They also "discussed geopolitical developments and regional security issues, and agreed on the importance of the US' continued engagement in the Asia-Pacific region".

On Tuesday, Dr Ng met senators Tom Cotton and Tammy Duckworth, who are both in the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He also met former secretary of defence James Mattis and former undersecretary of defence for policy Michele Flournoy, as well as spoke to former secretary of defence Mark Esper on the phone.

Dr Ng wrote on Facebook on Tuesday that his meetings with current and former defence officials had been warm and informative.

"These thought leaders and influencers know that the US needs to reinvigorate its economy, and evolve a coherent and consistent foreign and trade policy that benefits the US and the world at large," he wrote.

Later on Wednesday, Dr Ng will meet president of the Brookings Institution John Allen, who is the former commander of Nato and US forces in Afghanistan, and deliver a keynote address on the Asia-Pacific at the Aspen Security Forum in Washington.

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