Singapore Reaffirms Commitment to War on Terror
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 21, 2004 Singapore's deputy prime minister reaffirmed his county's commitment to the war on terror and vowed to continue working closely with the United States "to uproot this menace to modern society" after a meeting today at the Pentagon.
"Singapore supports the war on terror led by the U.S.," Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan said after meeting with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
"The war on terror is taking place on many dimensions and many views and in many countries," Tan said. "The focus on the war now is in Iraq. We have focused campaigns in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and we will continue to do so within the limits of our opportunities."
Singapore provides facilities for U.S. ships bound to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, shares intelligence and regularly opens its ports to U.S. ships. "We have also provided assistance in Iraq through the provision of police trainers, transport aircraft and landing ship tank, within our capabilities and where we can make a useful difference," he said. A landing ship tank, known as an LST, is a vessel that can carry up to 29 tanks and 350 troops.
Tan said Singapore's success in crippling the Jemaah Islamiyah network in Singapore "does not mean it is the end of the story." Rather, he said, the war on terror will be a long, sustained effort that takes place in many countries around the globe.
"As Secretary Rumsfeld has said, it is a relentless war," Tan said. "It has to be carried out 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the year. And wherever the menace presents itself, whether in the Middle East or with Southeast Asia, I think the international cooperation is necessary, whether it's on land or in the air or at sea."
Tan said those who wish to win out over terrorism "can only succeed if we work together," and that "Singapore will support the coalition efforts in the war on terror with all the capabilities that we have."
Rumsfeld praised Singapore for its strong support in the terror. He called the United States' relationship with that country "a very close, not just military- to-military relationship, but a political and economic relationship, which we value greatly."
Rumsfeld said the coalition partners such as Singapore are vital to countering the indiscriminate tactics used by terrorists. "A terrorist can attack any time, any place, using any technique, and they do it," Rumsfeld said. "They go about killing innocent men, women and children and not just in Saudi Arabia, but also in Indonesia and every corner of the globe in Western Europe and the United States, and most recently in Spain as well."
Rumsfeld said the only way for responsible, civilized countries to counter this threat is "to take the battle to the terrorists, to find those terrorist networks, to share intelligence, to bring all elements of national power to bear and make it more difficult for them to raise money to move money, to physically move around within a country, to cross borders between countries and keep raising the costs to them."
That, Rumsfeld said, is exactly how the coalition is confronting the terrorist threat. "There hasn't been a day that's gone by where this very broad and deep coalition of some 90 nations in the world haven't been successful in arresting and breaking up some terrorists somewhere on the face of the earth," he said. "And we'll keep that up with a great deal of resolution."