PM Lee Hsien Loong's Opening Remarks at Joint Press Conference with US Vice President Kamala Harris

SM Lee Hsien Loong | 23 August 2021

PM Lee Hsien Loong's opening remarks at the Joint Press Conference with US Vice President Kamala Harris at the Istana on 23 August 2021. Vice President Harris was on an Official Visit to Singapore from from 22 to 24 August 2021.


Vice President Kamala Harris,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Afternoon to all of you.

I welcome Vice President Harris to Singapore.

We had an excellent discussion this morning. We reaffirmed the robust and enduring partnership between Singapore and US. I also expressed our appreciation for US’ active role in the Asia-Pacific, especially in Southeast Asia. And our shared support for a stable, rules based order in the region, based on international law, where all countries can both cooperate and compete peacefully with one another, and prosper together.

The Vice President’s visit follows Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin’s visit here just a month ago. It emphasises the US Administration’s commitment to this region. It shows that the US has both strategic and economic stakes in Southeast Asia. We value the US renewing its ties with its friends and partners here, especially with Singapore.


Economic Ties

Economic cooperation between the US and Singapore  is dynamic and flourishing.

Our FTA with the US, signed in 2004, was US’ first with an Asian country. Since then our bilateral trade, which is well balanced and mutually beneficial, has more than doubled. Singapore is also the second largest Asian investor in the US, with direct investment stock of US$65 billion. our investments in the US together with American exports to Singapore,  support over a quarter million American jobs.

Today, Singapore is home to nearly 5,500 US companies. US is Singapore’s largest foreign direct investor. FDI stock of the US in Singapore is US$315 billion – more than US investments in China, India and South Korea combined.

Security Cooperation

On security and defence, US has played an important and constructive role in the region for over 70 years. Singapore is a Major Security Cooperation Partner of the US. We have consistently supported a strong US presence in the region, through our words and actions.

Our two countries cooperate well on transnational issues including terrorism, cybersecurity and counter-proliferation. Our security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies hold regular dialogues. Singapore participated in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. We were the first Southeast Asian country to contribute personnel and assets to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, which was in Iraq. US is a partner nation in Singapore’s newly established multilateral Counter-Terrorism Information Facility. We discussed these issues with Vice President Harris, and on Afghanistan specifically, I mentioned to Vice President that we knew that the US was conducting an evacuation operation of refugees from Afghanistan, and Singapore would like to offer to the US the use of the RSAF, Republic of Singapore Air Force’s  Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft in order to help with the airlift.

Our defence cooperation goes back many decades. Singapore has one of the largest foreign training presences in the US. We deeply appreciate US’ support for our training detachments in Arizona at Luke Airforce Base and Idaho at Mountain Home. Two years ago, we renewed the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which provides the US military with access to Singapore’s air and naval bases. Vice President Harris will be visiting Changi Naval base later this afternoon. There I hope she will see how Singapore has supported US military presence and defence engagements in the region. We have hosted rotational deployment of US aircraft and navy ships, including Littoral Combat Ships such as the USS Tulsa which the Vice President will be visiting.

Regional Cooperation

Our bilateral cooperation takes place in the context of regional and multilateral cooperation efforts.

Singapore appreciates US participation in ASEAN and regional forums, like the ARF, ADMM Plus, and APEC.

We work together at these forums, reflecting our shared commitment to multilateralism to tackle regional and global issues like climate change.

New Areas of Cooperation

On this 55th anniversary of Singapore-US diplomatic relations, I am happy that we are embarking on new areas of partnership. We concluded three agreements between our cyber, defence and finance agencies.

Singapore and US are also launching a Climate Partnership, and we are also pleased with the joint Smart City capacity-building initiatives.

We are elevating the US-Singapore Collaboration Platform MOU to a new Partnership for Growth and Innovation.

Also we welcome the US-Singapore Supply Chain Dialogue, to work together to strengthen supply chain resilience. On pandemic preparedness, we will pursue collaboration on genome sequencing and epidemic intelligence, which will speed up identification of COVID-19 variants as well as emerging disease threats, and augment regional preparedness for current and future pandemics. Also happy to see both sides cooperating on space, which is the next frontier.

It is a substantial agenda of deliverables which will enhance our partnership.

I am confident that our longstanding and multi-faceted bilateral relationship will continue to strengthen year by year.

Thank you very much.

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