Trump accepts PM's offer of copters for relief effort

United States President Donald Trump has accepted Singapore's offer of its Chinook helicopters based in Texas to assist in disaster relief operations in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made the offer in a call to Mr Trump yesterday, during which both leaders said they look forward to meeting in the White House in October.

PM Lee had called Mr Trump to express his concern and sympathies over the loss of life and damage in Texas and Louisiana.

He said Singapore was ready to assist in ongoing relief efforts by deploying the Republic of Singapore Air Force's CH-47 Chinook helicopters from its Peace Prairie detachment in Grand Prairie, Texas, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said.

President Trump thanked PM Lee and accepted his offer of help.

The RSAF detachment in Grand Prairie was set up in 1995 to train Chinook crewmen and maintenance personnel.

Four of its helicopters and 41 personnel had assisted in a relief mission for Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana in September 2005, during which they worked alongside the Texas Army National Guard.

Yesterday, Mr Trump took PM Lee's call while on board Air Force One on his way to Texas for an update on the flooding crisis.

Both leaders also discussed North Korea's "continued and deliberate provocations, including the latest ballistic missile launch", with the missile flying over Japan.

PM Lee said Singapore was deeply concerned and had issued a statement condemning this reckless action.

"We strongly urge North Korea to cease all provocations immediately, and reiterate our longstanding call for North Korea to abide by its international obligations and commitments," he added in a Facebook post.

His upcoming meeting with Mr Trump comes after they met at the Group of 20 Leaders' Summit in Hamburg, Germany, last month. At that meeting, Mr Trump said he looked forward to receiving PM Lee in Washington later this year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2017, with the headline 'Trump accepts PM's offer of copters for relief effort'. Print Edition | Subscribe