United States (US) Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III is in Singapore for an official visit and to attend the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD). Secretary Austin called on Minister for Defense Dr Ng Eng Hen at the Shangri-La Hotel June 10.
During their meeting, Dr Ng and Secretary Austin reaffirmed the excellent bilateral defense relationship and the mutually-beneficial partnership between Singapore and the US. Dr Ng expressed appreciation for the US’ strong support for the Singapore Armed Forces’ training in the US, including the US’ support for the RSAF’s acquisition and operationalization of the F-35Bs.
Both sides discussed ways to further strengthen defense cooperation between Singapore and the US, such as in the area of cyber defense following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning cooperation in cyberspace in August 2021.
Secretary Austin reaffirmed the US’ commitment to engage the Asia-Pacific region and play a strong role in the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)-Plus. He expressed appreciation for Singapore’s support for the US’ regional presence, even amidst COVID-19. Both Ministers also affirmed the need for stable defense relations, and for regional countries to work collectively for the security and prosperity of the region.
The Singapore-US defense relationship is anchored by the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Regarding United States Use of Facilities in Singapore, which was renewed in 2019, the 2005 Strategic Framework Agreement which recognized Singapore as a Major Security Cooperation Partner, and the 2015 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement which expanded defense collaboration across traditional and non-conventional security areas and laid out new areas of cooperation including in counter-terrorism and biosecurity.
Photo credit: Singapore Government. United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (left) calling on Minister for Defense Dr Ng Eng Hen (right) on the sidelines of the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue.