Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan met US National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his ongoing three-day visit to Washington, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Friday (June 10).
During the separate meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, Dr Balakrishnan and his hosts reaffirmed the strength of the Singapore-US bilateral relationship and discussed how the two countries can work together to advance bilateral cooperation, MFA said. They also discussed preparations for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s forthcoming official visit to Washington, the ministry said.
The officials exchanged views on developments in the Asia-Pacific, including the US’ engagement with the region and the South China Sea issue, added MFA.
Dr Balakrishnan had separate meetings with members of Congress including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker and Ranking Member Ben Cardin, and Representative Joaquin Castro, MFA said. Dr Balakrishnan hosted a reception for the Congressional Singapore Caucus on Wednesday. During the meetings, said MFA, Dr Balakrishnan stressed the importance of the US engagement of the Asia-Pacific region and, in particular, the significance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in signalling the US’ enduring commitment to its presence in the region.
On Thursday, the minister delivered a speech at the “Statesmen’s Forum” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies entitled “The US’ Role in the Asia-Pacific”, during which he highlighted the excellent state of bilateral relations between Singapore and the US, and emphasised the importance of the ratification of the TPP by the US.
In his capacity as Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, Dr Balakrishnan met Dr DJ Patil, the Chief Data Scientist in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on Thursday. They explored potential avenues for cooperation in the area of digital government, said MFA.