US remains key player in region, close partner of S'pore regardless of election results: US embassy

Guests watch the election results telecast live on a screen at Amcham's election event held at Conrad Centennial Hotel on Nov 4, 2020. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - The United States will remain a key player in the Indo-Pacific, and a close partner of Singapore, regardless of the presidential election results, US embassy Chargé d'Affaires Rafik Mansour said on Wednesday (Nov 4).

"That unshakeable economic relationship is firmly rooted in our many shared values and a common desire for stability, progress and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific," he added.

"The US is also committed to democratic principles, and that's why elections are such an important insight into who we are."

Mr Mansour said this when addressing 120 attendees at an American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham) election watch party held at Conrad Centennial Singapore.

The watch party, at which attendees observed social distancing measures, was the first physical event held by AmCham in seven months.

Attendees had to have their temperatures taken and checked into the event using TraceTogether, the national app for Covid-19 contact tracing. They were also discouraged from mingling with attendees at other tables, with seats allocated.

The five-hour event, held from 9am to 2pm, included a debate between Mrs Tina Datta, chairman of Republicans Overseas Singapore, and Mr Steven R. Okun, chief executive and founder of Apac Advisors, representing Democrats' views.

Attendees came in formal business outfits, making it difficult to determine their political orientation, but cheers and claps were louder for Democratic candidate Joe Biden than incumbent Republican President Donald Trump when the host asked who the crowd was supporting.

The election results were too early to be called when the watch party ended, as voting had ended in the US just hours before the AmCham event started.

This presidential election is unlike any in recent memory, with Covid-19 fears driving a record number of over 90 million Americans, particularly Democrats, to cast mail-in ballots, which will take days to count.

The next US president is expected to pull the world's largest economy out of the depression caused by Covid-19. He will also represent the US stance on multilateral institutions such as the World Health Organisation and the World Trade Organisation, and security in Indo-Pacific, particularly sovereignty issues in the South China Sea.

Mr Mansour said the world's interest in the US presidential election shows that "American leadership and values continue to be indispensable in positively shaping global stability and prosperity".

"That is clearly evident here in the Indo-Pacific," he added. "We continue to express strong support for basic freedoms and national sovereignty in the Indo-Pacific, working together on everything from maritime security and counter-terrorism to cyber security."

Guests watch the election results telecast live on a screen at Amcham's election event held at Conrad Centennial Hotel on Nov 4, 2020. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Mr Mansour said that the US and Singapore have "enjoyed more than 50 years of official partnership, since we established diplomatic ties in 1966, but our commercial linkages go back much further than that... more than 200 years ago".

He noted that the dynamic relationship that both countries shared has evolved to include more than 4,500 US companies operating and employing 200,000 in Singapore.

"2020 will prove to be a landmark here, both for US and Singapore... as both our peoples have stepped up to define our futures by electing our leadership," he added, referring to the general election Singapore held in July that saw the ruling People's Action Party returned to power.

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