Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong congratulates Joe Biden, Kamala Harris on US election victory

Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong congratulates Joe Biden, Kamala Harris on US election victory

Lee Hsien Loong Joe Biden file photo
Then US Vice President Joe Biden (left) and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a meeting in Singapore in July 2013. (Photo: Facebook/Lee Hsien Loong)

SINGAPORE: Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday (Nov 8) congratulated Mr Joe Biden and Ms Kamala Harris after they secured victory in the US presidential election, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Mr Biden was declared the victor by all major TV networks early Sunday morning (Singapore time), after he took more than 270 electoral votes.

In his letter to Mr Biden, Mr Lee said: "Americans have placed their trust in your vision and leadership.  

"Likewise, many countries are also looking forward to the global leadership of the United States under your administration as we work together to overcome the significant challenges facing the world, especially the immediate crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"With your long history and deep experience as a former US Vice President and US Senator, you are no doubt already familiar with the US’ long-standing, multifaceted and robust partnership with Singapore."

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Noting that Singapore is the US' largest trading partner for Southeast Asia, he said the countries' strong economic ties are underpinned by the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. Singapore is also the US' third largest Asian investor in 2019, and the US' only major security cooperation partner, said Mr Lee.

"Our 1990 Memorandum of Understanding has supported the US’ use of Singapore’s military facilities and underscores our support for the US’ presence, which remains vital for peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific."

Beyond the defence and economic spheres, the two countries cooperate in many other new areas, including infrastructure development and cybersecurity, said the Prime Minister. 

He added that the US has "many other friends and allies in the region" who welcome the US' strong commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.

"Significant strides were made in our relationship during your tenure as vice president, including the United States’ entry to the East Asia Summit and the appointment of its first ambassador to ASEAN," said Mr Lee.

In his letter, he recalled Mr Biden's visit to Singapore in 2013, when he "observed first-hand the full breadth of our relationship", and how both leaders had lunch together during Mr Lee's visit to Washington DC in August 2016.

"I look forward to working with you to deepen the partnership between our two countries and enhance the United States’ presence in the Asia Pacific. You can continue to count on Singapore as a friend and partner. I wish you every success and look forward to meeting you again," said the Prime Minister.

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In his congratulatory letter to Ms Harris, Mr Lee similarly noted how Americans placed their trust and confidence in her and Mr Biden to lead the US through "these challenging times".

Singapore and the United States share a "robust and enduring friendship" that has deepened over the decades, Mr Lee said. 

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Defence and security ties are underpinned by the 2005 Strategic Framework Agreement, and economic relations by the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement - the US’ first bilateral free trade agreement with an Asian country.

"I very much look forward to working with you and President-elect Biden to strengthen and expand our bilateral cooperation, and to welcoming you to Singapore for a first official visit at a time of your convenience," Mr Lee said.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat also congratulated Ms Harris, describing her victory as "hard-earned" and coming at "a critical juncture".

"I am confident that under your leadership, the United States will emerge from COVID-19 stronger, exercising its global leadership role in seeking collective solutions to the pandemic," said Mr Heng.

Noting how the US and Singapore work closely, including on transnational security issues and on the economic front, he added: "I look forward to meeting you in the near future to discuss how both sides can enhance bilateral cooperation and strengthen the United States’ engagement of the Asia Pacific."

Source: CNA/kv

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