- POSTED: 13 Dec 2013 08:49
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Singapore and the United States have reaffirmed the importance of a strong US presence in the Asia Pacific for enhanced regional stability and security.
WASHINGTON: Singapore's Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen met US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon in Washington on Thursday (Singapore time).
During the meeting, Mr Hagel and Dr Ng discussed ways to address regional tensions and how partners can improve cooperation and build mutual confidence.
Both countries reaffirmed the importance of a strong US presence in the Asia Pacific to enhance regional stability and security.
At the joint press conference with Mr Hagel, Dr Ng welcomed his counterpart's assurance and reaffirmation of America's commitment to the Asia Pacific.
Dr Ng said: "I reminded Secretary Hagel that Singapore has been explicit in our position that America's presence in the Asia Pacific in the last 50 years has been a critical force for stability and progress for many of the emerging economies."
Mr Hagel replied that the US remains committed to the re-balance of Asia Pacific in every way and to the important partnership with Singapore.
"I look forward to continuing to work with Dr Ng to advance our friendship, our common interests and ensure a more secure and prosperous future for both of our nations in the Asia Pacific," said Mr Hagel.
Both Mr Hagel and Dr Ng noted the good progress of cooperative initiatives, such as the rotational deployment of the US Navy's littoral combat ships to Singapore.
During his trip to Washington D.C., Dr Ng will deliver a speech to an audience of officials and strategic thinkers at an event hosted by the Centre of Strategic and International Studies.
On Thursday, Dr Ng also met Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.
He will meet Senator John McCain, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Former US Ambassador to Singapore and Former Governor of Utah Jon Huntsman on Friday.
While in Washington DC, Dr Ng will also deliver a speech to an audience of officials and strategic thinkers at an event hosted by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
Before his visit to Washington, Dr Ng was in Phoenix to observe Exercise Forging Sabre where he witnessed an integrated live-firing and the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Republic of Singapore Air Forces' Peace Carvin II F-16 detachment.
Since the signing of the Strategic Framework Agreement in July 2005, which provided the foundation for broad-base defence cooperation between Singapore and the US, both militaries have interacted regularly through joint exercises, operations, training and technological collaboration, said the statement.