WASHINGTON, April 5, 2017 —
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis today welcomed Singapore’s Minister of Defense Ng Eng Hen to the Pentagon, where the secretary thanked the minister for his country’s partnership in helping to advance mutual security interests in the Asia-Pacific region.
The United States is “very proud to partner with Singapore to defend our shared security interests,” Mattis told the Singaporean minister.
The Asia-Pacific “is a priority region for the United States,” Mattis said to the defense minister, “and both of our nations start from the common ground of democracies. In the U.S., we got our best assessments, I might add, from Singapore. That is where I get the best picture window into the Asia-Pacific region.”
Longstanding U.S.-Singapore Ties
Singapore “brings quality to our mutual efforts to advance security in the region and beyond,” Mattis continued. “Our extensive and longstanding military and economic ties have been instrumental to upholding international laws and principles, and in supporting the regional maritime security.”
Singapore, Mattis noted, was the first Asia-Pacific country to join the counter-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria coalition.
“And, we value your effort to counter terrorism regionally and globally,” Mattis said to the Singaporean defense minister.
Mattis also thanked the minister for Singapore’s support of U.S. forces, to include the hosting of some U.S. rotational deployments of littoral combat ships and P-8 aircraft.
“We are keen to build on this relationship,” Mattis said. “No relationship stays the same. It gets better or it diminishes. I'm committed to making ours better.
“So again, welcome, Minister Ng, and I look forward to our discussions,” Mattis added.
The U.S.-Singapore relationship “is a longstanding one, and goes back to the substantive memorandum of understanding signed in 1990, where we have said and we continue to maintain our belief that it's as true in the last half-century as it will be for the next half-century and the foreseeable future that the U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific region is not only critical, but indispensable for Asia-Pacific stability,” Ng said.
“And that is the reason why we have allowed naval -- your ships and planes -- to use our bases,” the Singaporean minister said, noting his country wants to continue to build on its relationship with the U.S.