Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Minister for Defence Dr. Ng Eng Hen met April 5 in the Pentagon. During their meeting, they reaffirmed the excellent and long-standing bilateral defense relationship between the United States and Singapore, as underscored by the 1990 memorandum of understanding, the 2005 strategic framework agreement, and the 2015 enhanced defense cooperation agreement (DCA).
Secretary Mattis thanked Singapore for its support enabling the United States’ presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Both leaders commended the successful rotational deployments of littoral combat ships and P-8 Poseidon aircraft.
Secretary Mattis expressed his appreciation for Singapore’s contributions to multi-national operations led by the United States, such as the defeat-ISIS fight. Dr. Ng expressed confidence that Singapore’s contribution of a medical task force to Iraq beginning in May 2017 would enhance the coalition’s medical capabilities and support the medical needs of coalition soldiers and civilians.
Secretary Mattis and Dr. Ng affirmed the strong military-to-military cooperation between the Singapore armed forces and the U.S. armed forces. Over the years, personnel exchanges and bilateral training have built mutual understanding and strong people-to-people ties between both militaries. Dr. Ng also thanked Secretary Mattis for the United States’ support for the Singapore armed forces’ training in the United States and noted the good progress made in exploring further training opportunities in Guam.
Secretary Mattis and Dr. Ng also discussed initiatives to promote stability in the Asia-Pacific, noting that countries should engage in practical cooperation to counter threats relating to maritime security, terrorism and natural disasters. In this regard, Secretary Mattis and Dr. Ng reaffirmed the significance of the 2015 enhanced DCA, which established bilateral cooperation in non-conventional security areas including cyber, biosecurity, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
Secretary Mattis and Dr. Ng affirmed the role of regional security fora such as the Shangri-La Dialogue and the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in promoting dialogue and practical cooperation among regional countries.