Hagel Meets With Malaysian, Singaporean Leaders at Shangri-La
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
SINGAPORE, June 2, 2013 Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with counterparts from Singapore and Malaysia this weekend following his speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue and a series of bilateral and trilateral meetings yesterday.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel meets with Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, June 2, 2013. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Hagel is attending the 2013 Asia-Pacific security conference that this year drew hundreds of political and military leaders and experts from 27 countries on the region and beyond.
Hagel met separately here yesterday with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen to discuss a range of regional security issues, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
"Prime Minister Lee and Defense Minister Ng welcomed the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region and noted the importance of robust U.S. engagement in the region,” Little said. “They also reaffirmed the importance of the United States forward deploying on a rotational basis its first littoral combat ships to Singapore to enable the United States to increase its engagement with the region.”
During the meetings, Hagel thanked the Singaporean leaders and people for their contributions to coalition operations, including in Afghanistan, Little said.
Hagel met today with Malaysian Defense Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Little said.
The press secretary said bilateral defense cooperation with Malaysia continues to grow, particularly through exercises, trainings, and interoperability, and reflects the importance each country places on the strengthening relationship.
During the meeting, he said, both leaders emphasized the importance of working bilaterally and multilaterally towards greater stability in Southeast Asia and beyond. They also discussed cyber issues and transnational threats. Hagel received an invitation to visit Malaysia and accepted, Little said.
Hagel thanked Hishammuddin for Malaysian Armed Forces medical personnel who will continue to play an important role contributing to stability in Afghanistan,” Little said.