Singapore, U.S. Reaffirm, Strengthen Relationship
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 12, 2005 Singapore and the United States strengthened their bilateral relationship when President Bush and Prime Minister Leong Hsien Lee signed a Strategic Framework Agreement today.
The signing followed an Oval Office meeting between the men.
Bush praised Singapore for its steadfast support in the war on terror and said he appreciated the prime minister's clear-eyed approach to mutual issues. Prime Minister Lee thanked the president for America's "strong, consistent stand" against terror.
Singapore is a close U.S. friend in Southeast Asia and a large trading partner. The prime minister said the two leaders discussed bilateral issues and regional concerns.
He said they discussed how India and China are "exerting a positive influence on many of the countries, and how America can be part of Asia and engaged, participating and continuing to stabilize and to maintain the security in the region, as it has done for many years."
Anti-terror dominated the meeting. "The prime minister and I share a clear vision about the world in which we live when it comes to terror," Bush said. "These terrorists will kill in a moment's notice. They don't care who you are. They want to shake our will. They ... want to drive America from the world. They want the free world to retreat. They've got ideological ambitions. And that's going to require a steadfast response."
Anti-terror programs are part of the reason for the strategic framework agreement, Lee said. The prime minister said the United States and Singapore will build on the long-standing military, political and economic cooperation to provide security in the region.
The agreement will focus on anti-terrorism, counterproliferation, defense technology cooperation, military cooperation and strategic and security exchanges.
Bush said the agreement is based on mutual trust. "It is one that will have long-term consequences for both our peoples, but I happen to believe that it will have long-term consequences for peace in the region, and that's very important," he said.