Wednesday, 3 April 2013

"Singapore - US" Bilateral Ties

Update 31 May 2019: Singapore, United States agree to renew MOU on use of military facilities
Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen hosting a breakfast for US Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan on the sidelines of the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue. (PHOTO: Ministry of Defence)

Singapore and the United States on Friday (31 May) agreed to renew a long-standing agreement for the US’ use of military facilities in Singapore.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was first signed in 1990 by Singapore’s first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and then-US vice-president Dan Quayle, facilitates the Americans’ access to the Republic’s air and naval bases, and has underpinned the US’ regional presence for almost 30 years.

Under its ambit, the US has rotationally deployed fighter aircraft for exercises, refuelling and maintenance, as well as Littoral Combat Ships and P-8 Poseidon aircraft to Singapore.

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Singapore, US reaffirm bilateral defence relations, agree to renew MOU

Acting United States Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana on May 31, 2019. (Photo: MINDEF)

Singapore and the United States have agreed to renew a defence Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), as the two countries reaffirmed their bilateral defence ties on Friday (May 31).

Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen hosted Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan to breakfast on the sidelines of the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue, during which the two reaffirmed the "excellent and long-standing bilateral defence relations" between Singapore and the United States, according to a Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) news release.

The officials also agreed to update the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the United States Use of Facilities in Singapore, to be renewed by 2020, to incorporate "partnership elements of the US’ national defence strategy recently articulated for this region", according to MINDEF.

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S’pore to renew agreement allowing US access to its military facilities
RSS Tenacious arriving in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for an international maritime warfare exercise in 2018. Dr Maliki Osman said that the US is a major defence and economic partner for Singapore

Singapore is working to renew an agreement granting the United States access to military facilities here next year.

Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, revealed this on Friday (March 1) at the Committee of Supply debate on his ministry’s budget, pointing out that Singapore had signed a landmark agreement in 1990, allowing the US access to its military facilities.

Although he did not provide more details, it has been reported that under the agreement, the US can use the Sembawang base to provide logistical support for transiting American military aircraft and vessels. Another provision was added to the agreement in 1998 which allows US military vessels to stop at Changi Naval Base.

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Singapore PM offers blunt assessment of US relationship

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong turned heads Tuesday when video of a blunt commentary on his nation's U.S. and China relationships was posted online.

Speaking to the BBC, the normally diplomatic Lee hinted that his country's loyalties to both Beijing and Washington could one day be tested.

"If America, China relations become very difficult, our position becomes tougher because then we will be coerced to choose between being friends with America and being friends with China," he said. "That's a real worry. Right now we are friends with both — it's not that we don't have issues with either, but we are generally friends with both, and the relationships are in good working order."

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Right to have good ties with both China, US: PM Lee

Maintaining good relations with both China and the United States is the right position to take, even if some might hope that Singapore would lean towards one country or the other, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.

Mr Lee, who met Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, last week, noted that Singapore is good friends with both countries.

He was speaking at a dialogue at the FutureChina Global Forum last night, where he was asked questions covering topics from small-state diplomacy to global trade and business opportunities with China.

related: Singapore has broad relationship with China and US

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China Warns 'Small and Medium Size' Countries Not To Side with Big Countries: White Paper

Chinese naval aircraft carriers

A white paper released today by China on Asia-Pacific security cooperation has warned ‘small and medium size countries’ not to take sides in disputes between big countries, without naming the countries in question. The white paper, "China's Policies on Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation" was released by the State Council Information Office Wednesday on policies related to Asia-Pacific security cooperation, which also clarified the nation's stance on issues of regional concern.

"Small- and medium-sized countries need not and should not take sides among big countries," according to the white paper, Sina reported Wednesday. All countries should work toward a new dialogue system instead of confrontation, and pursue partnerships rather than alliances, according to the white paper. Outlining China's concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, the white paper explained the Chinese approach to achieving peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

The policy package includes the promotion of common development; the building of partnerships; improvement of existing multilateral frameworks; rule-setting; military exchanges; and proper settlement of differences.

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PM Lee: We are not at odds with China

PM Lee: We are not at odds with China
PM Lee Hsien Loong (left) speaking to the media in Munich, where he was attending the Group of 20 Leaders' Summit. FOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES

Singapore has a broad, wide-ranging relationship with both China & the United States, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

He was giving his assessment of ties with both powers in an interview with Singapore reporters at the end of a 6-day visit to Germany, where he attended the Group of 20 (G-20) Leaders' Summit.

Mr Lee also met Chinese President Xi Jinping & US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the summit.

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Singapore maintains consistent position, even as it recalibrates to remain relevant, says PM Lee

Mr Robin Hu (L) Board of Directors, Business China & PM Lee Hsien Loong (R) speak at Business China's 10 Anniversary & Business China Awards 2017 on 14 July 2017. Foto: Wee Teck Hian / TODAY

The Republic will maintain a consistent position in its dealings with the major powers, even as it periodically re-calibrates policies to remain relevant, PM Lee Hsien Loong has said.

In a broad-ranging dialogue session at the closing of the FutureChina Global Forum on Friday (Jul 14), Mr Lee cited examples of how the government-to-government projects between Singapore and China evolved over the years - from manufacturing to environmental needs to logistics and connectivity - as Beijing’s needs and priorities changed.

“You cannot serve old medicine to a patient who is in a new situation,” Mr Lee told the audience comprising senior officials, business leaders and academics, many of whom are from China or have extensive interests in the mainland. “We work on the basis that the world will progress, countries will prosper and our role will have to change. As they grow more prosperous, capable, and open to the world, what we used to do & what they used to find us useful for will change.”

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Singapore an anchor for US presence in Asia, says Obama

PM Lee Hsien Loong and US President Barack Obama in a photo taken at the US-ASEAN summit held in California on Feb 15. (The Straits Times)

Singapore is an anchor for the US presence in Asia, said US President Barack Obama, outlining why the country is being given the rare honor this week of an official visit with a state dinner at the White House.

He told The Straits Times such visits are an opportunity to "reaffirm our ties and friendship with our closest partners around the world".

"This visit is an occasion to mark the 50th anniversary of our bilateral relationship with Singapore, which is one of our strongest and most reliable partners in South- east Asia," he said.

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South China Sea dispute: US has to build ties first, says PM Lee

PM Lee meeting US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen in Washington, DC, on Thu. He is currently in the US on a working visit.FOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS & INFORMATION

The maritime disputes in the South China Sea need to be tackled as part of a broader US-China relationship, rather than as a one-dimensional, zero-sum issue, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

To that end, he said the US must first start by building an overall, substantive relationship in the region.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal editorial board in an interview in the United States this week, PM Lee outlined what he thought the US response should be to the South China Sea issue.

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PM Lee lauds people-to-people ties between Singapore and US

PM Lee Hsien Loong and wife Ho Ching sing the national anthem with attendees during a National Day reception for US-based Singaporeans, on July 31, 2016. — TODAY pic

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has lauded the deep people-to-people ties between Singapore and the United States, adding that these links have served as the foundation for strong bilateral relations.

“The fact that there are so many Singaporeans here in America — living, working, studying, some married here and some are visiting here — shows how wide and deep our (bilateral) relations are,” said PM Lee during a National Day reception held at the Singapore Embassy in Washington, DC, last night.

“It is not just between the governments and between the companies, but between people too,” he said.

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Singapore, US reaffirm mutual counter-extremism commitment
Allies’ defense chiefs discuss extrem threats, anti-ISIL coalition ahead of major security summit this weekend

The transnational threat of extremism loomed large as an issue discussed between Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen and United States Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter ahead of a major security summit opening in Singapore this weekend.

Ng hosted Carter to breakfast Friday before visiting the Singapore Armed Forces Imagery Support Group (ISG).

While there, Carter was briefed on the ISG’s operations and their deployment to the Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters in Kuwait to contribute to the multinational counter-ISIL coalition.

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Singaporean Prime Minister‎ Affirm Security Partnership

Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong affirmed their countries’ long-standing security partnership and discussed a range of issues related to mutual security interests during a meeting in Singapore today, according to a statement issued by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook.

Carter is in Singapore to attend this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue security conference. He’s slated to give a keynote address at the event tomorrow.

The two leaders conferred on cooperation on maritime security and countering violent extremism from terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Cook said.

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U.S. 'Grateful' for Strong Partnership with Singapore, Carter Says

Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen are briefed on the capabilities of a P-8 Poseidon aircraft during a flight over Singapore and the Strait of Malacca, June 3, 2016. Carter is in Singapore attending the Shangri-La Dialogue. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D. Godbee

In Singapore today, Defense Secretary Ash Carter lauded the 50th anniversary of U.S. diplomatic relations with that country and highlighted the importance of cooperation in maritime security and anti-terrorism.

The United States is, as it has been for decades, thankful to have a capable, principled partner in Singapore, the defense secretary said at a press conference with his Singaporean counterpart, Ng Eng Hen. They spoke at the Defense Ministry in Bukit Batok.

"We have no better friend than Singapore," Carter said. "I'm grateful for that." Singapore, he said, just like the United States, stands for cooperation, inclusiveness and principle in the conduct of international affairs.

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Obama hails ‘very strong’ relations with Singapore

PM Lee Hsien Loong and US President Barack Obama shake hands after their bilateral meeting alongside the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Nov 22, 2015. Photo: Reuters

US President Barack Obama says relations between the US and Singapore are strong and that the Asian nation is an excellent international partner.

Mr Obama commented after a one-on-one meeting today (Nov 22) with Singapore’s Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, in Malaysia during a summit of Asian nations.

Mr Obama says they discussed efforts to counter Islamic State extremists, the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade pact, climate change and tensions in the South China Sea.

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China Concerned About US-Singapore Military Ties

China has expressed its criticism for the growing defense ties between the United States and Singapore in a recent statement. The U.S. and Singapore are exploring improved defense ties in “new high-level dialogues” and Beijing is reportedly concerned that this development spells greater American military presence in the region

On Tuesday, December 08, 2015, China voiced its displeasure at the new U.S.-Singapore defense cooperation agreement. The military aspect of the arrangement includes Washington sending its U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft to Singapore; the presence of the Boeing surveillance plane in Southeast Asia is clearly a development that Beijing is not comfortable with.

Addressing the issue at a press gathering, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chuying said, “I think this kind of increase in military deployment by the United States and pushing regional militarization does not accord with the joint long-term interests of the countries in this region”. The Chinese official further added, “So we hope the relevant side does more to enhance mutual trust among regional countries, and thus benefit the regional peace and development.”

Ms. Hua Chuying shared that Beijing is of the opinion that just like other states that make up the region, Singapore too wants Southeast Asia to achieve and maintain regional stability and progress. China has long been of the opinion that regional disputes and concerns must be managed internally by the actors involved and non-stakeholders and international parties should not interfere; Beijing has historically taken umbrage at Washington’s interest and involvement in the region and the recent agreement with Singapore undoubtedly adds to China’s list of concerns about the same.

related: U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Angers China

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US aircraft carrier in Singapore to complement naval forces in region: Admiral

United States aircraft carrier, the USS John C Stennis, has been docked at Changi Naval Base since Tuesday (Apr 19).

More than 330 metres long and as tall as a 24-storey building, the aircraft carrier is among the largest and most powerful ships in the US Navy. It is complemented by two guided-missile destroyers, a guided-missile cruiser, several helicopters and fighter jet squadrons

The group is part of the US Navy's 3rd Fleet and is moored at Changi Naval Base after being involved in military exercises with South Korea last month. Its fleet commander, Vice-Admiral Nora Tyson, said their presence complements the efforts of the 7th Fleet, which usually operates in the Asia Pacific region

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China military keeping tabs on US Poseidon deployment in Singapore
A U.S. Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft at Perth International Airport March 31, 2014. Reuters file photo

China’s military is closely watching an agreement between the United States and Singapore to ­deploy the US P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane to the city state and hopes the move does not harm regional stability, said the ­Defence Ministry. “We are paying close attention to how the relevant situation develops, and hope ­bilateral defence cooperation between the relevant countries is beneficial to ­regional peace and stability and not the opposite,” said the Ministry in a brief statement.

The Foreign Ministry of China, which is at odds with Washington over Beijing’s reclamation activities in the South China Sea, said the ­deployment was aimed at militarising the region and was detrimental to ­regional peace. However, analysts ­TODAY spoke with noted that the move is ­unlikely to significantly affect US-China or Singapore-China ties.

In a joint statement after a meeting this week in Washington, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Singa­pore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen welcomed the inaugural deployment of the aircraft in Singapore from Dec 7 to 14. A US defence official has said further deployments in Singapore could be expected.

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US presence in Asia-Pacific is essential for regional stability

Singapore’s Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen has urged the US to show what he calls “clear and consistent signals” that it intends to remain fully engaged in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dr Ng was speaking at the end of his visit to Washington, where he signed an enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement with US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter.

Dr Ng’s day began on Capitol Hill, where he held meetings with members of the Congressional Singapore Caucus.


US agrees spy plane deployment in Singapore amid China tensions
US surveillance plane deployed to Singapore
Another US patrol in South China Sea unlikely this year: Officials
US Navy commander warns of possible South China Sea arms race

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Dr Ng: Continued US Presence in the Asia-Pacific is Vital for Regional Stability

Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen giving a speech at an event organised by the Center for a New American Security at The Willard InterContinental Hotel

Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen delivered a speech at an event organised by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) earlier today (Singapore time).

Speaking at the event facilitated by co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the CNAS Michèle Flournoy, Dr Ng highlighted that amidst a changing regional landscape, the US' continued presence in the Asia-Pacific was essential in ensuring continued peace and progress in the region. He explained, "Singapore has consistently believed that the US, whose presence in the Asia-Pacific is a force for regional peace and stability, plays a critical role in the security architecture of the region", and it is because of this belief that "following the closure of Clark Air Base and Subic Bay in the Philippines, Singapore signed the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the US, which facilitated the US' access to our air bases and naval bases."

Dr Ng also highlighted that greater strategic trust among stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific was vital in ensuring the region's continued peace and stability and underscored the need to promote greater dialogue and practical cooperation. He noted, "As critical as the US' continued presence in the Asia-Pacific is, the US alone cannot ensure continued peace and stability. To do so, we need to build greater strategic trust among all stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific… Over the past two decades, regional stakeholders have institutionalised new platforms such as the ADMM-Plus, the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum…Our defence establishments are coming together to deal with non-traditional security threats." Dr Ng cited the Malacca Straits Patrols, Singapore's Information Fusion Centre, and the upcoming ADMM-Plus Maritime Security and Counter-Terrorism exercise as good examples of regional practical cooperation.

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US, Singapore Launch Maritime Warfare Exercise

Joint exercise kicks off with a focus on honing conventional maritime warfare capabilities

On July 13, the U.S. and Singapore navies began a joint maritime exercise at Changi Naval Base.

The 21st annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Singapore exercise involves 1,400 personnel from both countries and will take place from July 13 to July 24. It is part of a series of bilateral naval exercises conducted by the U.S. Navy (USN) with partners and now involves nine countries in South and Southeast Asia – Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste (See: “US Eyes Expanded Military Exercises with ASEAN Navies”).

According to Singapore’s Ministry of Defense (MINDEF), this year’s exercise focuses on honing conventional maritime warfare capabilities – including anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine operations. In terms of assets, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force is contributing five ships, a submarine, a naval helicopter, a maritime patrol aircraft and a fighter aircraft, while the USN and U.S. Marine Corps is contributing three ships, a submarine, three naval helicopters and a maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.

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Singapore, U.S. launches joint maritime warfare exercise

Singapore and U.S. navies initiated a joint maritime warfare exercise at Changi Naval Base on Monday.

The 21st Singapore-U.S. Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise will last until July 24, according to a press release by the government.

This year's exercise focuses on honing conventional maritime warfare capabilities such as anti-air, anti-surface and anti- submarine operations, as well as maritime air and base defense operations.

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Four US littoral combat ships to operate out of Singapore by 2018

The USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) sits docked at Sembawang Wharves during a port of call in Singapore on February 17, 2015

Four US warships designed to fight in coastal areas similar to Southeast Asian waters will operate out of Singapore by 2018, a senior US Navy official said Tuesday, further underscoring Washington's military tilt to Asia. 

The "rotational deployment" of the vessels, called littoral combat ships (LCS), comes as China continues to flex its muscles in the South China Sea and tensions remain on the Korean Peninsula.

"We will soon see up to four LCS here in Singapore as we rotationally deploy Seventh Fleet ships," said Rear Admiral Charles Williams.

thepeninsulaqatar: Four US littoral combat ships to operate out of Singapore by 2018
thanhniennews: Four US littoral combat ships to operate out of S'pore by 2018: US Navy
ABS CBN News: 4 US warships to operate out of Singapore
Rakyat Post: 4 US littoral combat ships to operate out of Spore by 2018, says US Navy
TODAYonline: US plans to rotate 4 combat ships operating out of Singapore by 2018
Straits Times: Four US littoral combat ships to operate out of Spore by 2018: US Navy

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Singapore-US Defence Relations

Defence interactions between Singapore and the US are extensive and expanding.

Singapore has been a strong supporter of the US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. When the US withdrew from Clark and Subic, Singapore was the first to offer facilities. In 1990 Singapore and the US signed an MOU to allow the US navy and airforce access to Singapore’s military facilities. Also, COMLOG WESTPAC, a US logistics coordinating unit which serves US forces deployed in the Asia-Pacific, was relocated to Singapore in July 1992. The Singapore-US MOU, now into its eighth year, has served both countries well. More than a hundred ships from the US Navy call at Singapore each year and US fighter aircraft regularly deploy to Singapore.

Access to Singapore’s facilities has enabled the US military to deal quickly with contingency situations in the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Korean Peninsula, and Somalia. For instance, during the Gulf War, the US Armed Forces used Singapore as a transit point for US ships, troops and aircraft on their way to the Gulf. The use of Paya Lebar Air Base helped the US to support its airlift operations to Somalia.

S'pore, US pledge to boost cooperation in anti-terror fight
Emergency-preparedness exercise simulated attacks on Shenton Way (above), Biopolis and Plaza Singapura

Singapore and the United States have pledged to step up anti-terrorism cooperation, ahead of an inaugural global summit to be organised by the White House on countering violent extremism.

The move was one of the key outcomes of the third US-Singapore Strategic Partnership Dialogue held in the US capital last Friday.

A joint statement said that the dialogue's co-chairs, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Chee Wee Kiong and US top diplomat for Asia Daniel Russel, noted a "mutual desire to work to counter violent extremism in all its forms, having partnered together on the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL". ISIL is another name for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militant group, or ISIS.

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PM Lee, Biden reaffirm strong bilateral ties

Important regional role: Mr Biden thanked Mr Lee (with Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin behind him) for Singapore's leadership in 'shaping a more peaceful and prosperous South-east Asia'. - PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN/THE STRAITS TIMES

In the White House on Wednesday (Thursday morning, Singapore time), he had separate meetings with United States Vice-President Joe Biden and National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

President Barack Obama, who welcomed Mr Lee to the White House in April last year, dropped by during the meeting with Ms Rice.

The Prime Minister's Office said in a statement issued shortly after the closed-door meetings that Mr Lee welcomed both Mr Obama's and Mr Biden's "strong commitment" to the US rebalancing towards Asia.

Singapore, US kick off joint military exercise in South China Sea

The naval forces of Singapore and United States will carry out joint exercises in the international waters of the South China Sea as part of this year's Exercise CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training), which begins on Tuesday (July 29)

Vice-Admiral Robert Thomas of the US Navy (USN) Seventh Fleet said the joint exercises are in line with America's "rebalancing" of forces in the Asia-Pacific and its commitment to freedom of access on the seas in the region. The USN's warships and aircraft will work together with the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) during the joint exercise.

Commenting on the tensions in the South China Sea between China and regional countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam, Vice-Admiral Thomas said while the Chinese Navy will likely carry out further operations there, the USN priorities operational readiness in the region, including offering its resources to aid in humanitarian efforts.

He said he "did not want to speculate" on what would warrant US military intervention in the region.

PM Lee to US: Use trade policy to engage Asia-Pacific
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (left) shakes hands with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Treasury Department in Washington June 23, 2014. Photo: Reuters

With the end in sight for negotiations over the trade partnership that will account for one-third of world trade, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday called on the United States to use trade policy as a key instrument in engaging the Asia-Pacific region.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which includes the US and 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific including Singapore, Australia, Japan and Chile, is “consequential” — and not only for the 40 per cent of world gross domestic product it covers, Mr Lee said at a think-tank discussion on Tuesday in Washington DC. “Consequential also because it is a signal of America’s commitment and seriousness as an Asia-Pacific power,” he said.

US President Barack Obama has talked about rebalancing towards Asia, which Singapore strongly supports. Mr Lee, who is on a six-day working visit to the US, said: “We understand that for that to be meaningful and to have substance, it cannot just be talk, it cannot just be security — which is important — but it has to be a broad engagement of the region. And you have to have policies, measures, specific projects (in) which you work with the partners in the region where it is win-win, and people say yes, America is a good and worthy friend and I am on your side.”

USS George Washington docks in Singapore
Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier The USS George Washington is in Singapore as part of its routine operations

The USS George Washington arrived in Singapore on Thursday (June 26), as part of its routine operations.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is currently at its halfway mark of its six-month patrol around the world. and has some 5,500 officers onboard.

It will hold joint exercises with its regional counterparts as part of the patrol. It has also been involved in humanitarian assistance disaster relief efforts, such as during the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines recently.

Singapore and US reaffirm bilateral defence ties
Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen meeting with United States Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel on the sidelines of the 13th Shangri-La Dialogue. (Credit: MINDEF)

Singapore’s Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen and United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have reaffirmed the two countries' long-standing and excellent defence ties.

During their meeting on the sidelines of the 13th Shangri-La Dialogue on Friday (May 30), they noted the successful inaugural deployment of the US’ first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), USS Freedom, to Singapore in 2013, and looked forward to the arrival of the USS Fort Worth later this year. In addition, they exchanged views on a wide range of regional and security issues, welcoming multilateral forums such as the Shangri-La Dialogue and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus.

Secretary Hagel also called on Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana on Friday.

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Shanmugam, Kerry reaffirm Singapore-US relations

Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam and US Secretary of State John Kerry have reaffirmed the close and longstanding relations between their countries that span the economic, political, military and socio-cultural fronts.

During their meeting at the State Department in Washington D.C. on Monday, they also reiterated their countries' commitment to further strengthen cooperation, both bilaterally and regionally.

In particular, both sides welcomed the progress made under the US-Singapore Third Country Training Programme (TCTP) over the past two years in providing training for over 280 officials from ASEAN countries in the areas of ASEAN Connectivity, sustainable development and regional resilience

related: Shanmugam discusses need for US to deal with rising China

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Enhancing regional security with littoral combat ships

The USS Freedom was moored at Changi Naval Base when it arrived in Singapore last year, during the inaugural deployment overseas of a United States Navy littoral combat ship. Photo: Reuters

A year has passed since the first of four planned United States Navy littoral combat ships (LCSs), USS Freedom, arrived in Singapore on an inaugural LCS deployment overseas. From April to November last year, Freedom operated throughout South-east Asia and conducted a series of port visits, exercises and exchanges with regional navies that operate comparably-sized frigates and corvettes.

The ship hosted thousands of visitors from across the Asia-Pacific region when it was in port. And like many US Navy ships deployed to the US Seventh Fleet, it spent a lot of time at sea enhancing maritime security and stability throughout South-east Asia.

In the US, recent media reports reflect debates over the relevance of the LCS class in the Asia-Pacific region. Some reports attributed comments to anonymous officials who suggested the LCS might be better suited to the Middle East.

US has important role in Singapore's air defence capabilities progress: Ng Eng Hen

Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen (extreme L) interacts with participants of Exercise Forging Sabre 2013 (XFS 13) in Phoenix, Arizona, US. (Photo: MINDEF)

Singapore's air defence capabilities have progressed significantly in the last two decades, and the US government and US Air Force (USAF) have played an important role in this by providing training opportunities and sharing of practices

Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said this at the 20th anniversary parade of the Peace Carvin detachment at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona on Thursday

He said the continuing engagement with the USAF has allowed the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) combat capabilities to grow from strength to strength, by developing new concepts and advanced tactics


Singapore believes in American military presence

This is text of a speech by Dr Ng Eng Hen, the Singapore defence minister, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C., yesterday. President Barack Obama characterises the relationship between our two countries as an “extraordinary relationship”. Indeed, Singapore and the US are strategic partners and share a vision for a world that gives every person of any creed, colour or background an equal opportunity to fulfil his or her aspirations and succeed.

Defence and security agreements form one of the solid pillars in this extraordinary relationship. I flew in from Luke Air Force Base in Arizona after witnessing the Singapore Armed Forces’ Exercise Forging Sabre, an exercise that involves all four of our Air Force training detachments in the US as well as our Army’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (Himars) detachment. Our Peace Carvin II F-16 detachment also celebrated its 20th anniversary of training here, which is testament to the longstanding relationship between the US and Singapore.

This close relationship with the US is based on shared strategic perspectives for a stable Asia-Pacific region that fosters growth and prosperity for all nations, small and large. These beliefs underpinned the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the US and Singapore for US ships and planes to transit through our air and naval bases, which was signed by our founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew and then-US Vice President Dan Quayle

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S’pore welcomes US to continue deepening engagement in Asia-Pacific region
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (R) meets United States Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew at the Istana

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has welcomed the United States’ commitment to continue deepening its engagement in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr Lee met with United States Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew on Wednesday morning.

Mr Lew is in Singapore on his first visit as US Treasury Secretary.

Commander of US Pacific Fleet in Singapore on introductory visit
The Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet Admiral Harry Harris called on Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Jan 21, 2014, as part of his three-day introductory visit to Singapore. -- PHOTO: MINDEF 

He had earlier called on Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Ng Chee Peng after inspecting a Guard of Honour.

ADM Harris is in Singapore from Jan 20 to 22. He will be visiting the Changi Command and Control Centre at Changi Naval Base later Tuesday.

In a statement, the Defence Ministry said that ADM Harris' visit "underscores the excellent and long-standing defence relationship between Singapore and the United States, and between both navies."

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United States Navy to move 60% of warships to Asia

Redeployment by 2020 'a clear-cut message on its large footprint in region'. The United States will move the bulk of its warships to this part of the world, as it grapples with China's rising military power and a tightening defence budget.

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said the US Navy will reposition 60 per cent of its warships in Asia by 2020, as part of its new military strategy that focuses on Asia.

This is up from the current 50 per cent of its fleet that is in this region, including six aircraft carriers, destroyers, combat ships and submarines. The other half of the fleet is based in the Atlantic.

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US deploys state-of-art warship to Singapore

The US navy has deployed a radically different type of vessel to Singapore.

The USS Freedom will form part of a more nimble and efficient US naval force in the Asia-Pacific region, a move China views with suspicion.

Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler reports from Changi naval base in Singapore.

related: Singapore: Small state, big weapons buyer

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Canada seeks Singapore hub to support U.S. military Asia 'pivot' toward China
Defence Minister Peter MacKay revealed the plan in an exclusive interview Friday with The Canadian Press from Singapore, where he was attending a major security conference.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to give more details of the Pentagon's renewed military focus on Asia during a major speech in Singapore on Saturday at the Shangri-La Dialogue. The Pentagon's Asia tilt comes in response to China's rising military spending. "This entire concept — the buzzword is the pivot to the Pacific — it's a recognition of the regional power dynamics here that do affect us with China expanding and modernizing their military capabilities," said MacKay.

To that end, MacKay said Canada is looking at a cost-effective way of increasing its military footprint in the region. MacKay said a military hub in Singapore would be similar to the arrangements it has reached with Kuwait and Jamaica, to give it military footholds in the Middle East and the Caribbean.

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A Controversial US Warship to Singapore

Crappy' boat or revolutionary new naval weapon? 

In the next day or so a sleek, futuristic warship painted in newly-applied grey and black 'dazzle' camouflage will push off from a naval dock in San Diego, California, at the start of a voyage that will end in Singapore in about a month.

The USS Freedom, the first of the US Navy's controversial Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) to be sent to Asia, is a new class of warship intended - as its name suggests - to operate on the ocean's margins rather in the blue open waters traditionally favored by naval strategists and commanders. The tri-hulled catamaran USS Independence and two other LCSs are also due to be sent to Singapore over the next four years.

While the arrival of Freedom at Singapore's Changi naval base for an eight-month 'deployment' will have no direct impact on naval dispositions or power within the Asia-Pacific region, it is set to serve a wider purpose for the US Navy 

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Lee Kuan Yew hosts dinner for ex-US top diplomat George Shultz

SINGAPORE: The United States will remain a Pacific power, Vice-President Joe Biden vowed Saturday as he credited his country with maintaining peace and stability in the region for decades.

Biden, ending a two-day visit to Singapore, said the US presence there has allowed Asia-Pacific nations to focus on growing their economies.

“I state without apology that we are a Pacific power. America is a Pacific resident power and we will remain so,” President Barack Obama’s number two told sailors of the US Navy’s littoral combat ship USS Freedom.

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Biden Says U.S. to Push China for South China Sea Code

Vice President Joe Biden said the U.S. is pushing China to negotiate quickly with Southeast Asian nations on a code of conduct for the South China Sea, an area that’s a “major, major, major highway of commerce.”

China agreed during an Association of Southeast Asian Nations-hosted forum in Brunei late last month to meet with the 10-member group in September to develop rules to avoid conflict in the waters. Nguyen Tan Dung, prime minister of Asean member Vietnam, warned in May that miscalculations over territorial disputes could disrupt commerce, with two-thirds of all maritime trade moving through the area.

“We’re doing everything to encourage that to be done, but it has to be done,” Biden said in a Bloomberg Television interview on July 27, as he wrapped up a six-day trip to India and Singapore. “It’s in everyone’s interest, including China’s, to have it happen that way, through negotiating a settlement.”

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Biden Visits LCS in Singapore

Biden on LCS
SINGAPORE -- Vice President Joe Biden visited the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1), currently on a rotational deployment to Southeast Asia, July 27

The visit to Freedom was part of a six-day trip to India and Singapore in which the Vice President met with military, civilian and business leaders to strengthen partnerships within the region and reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the Asia-Pacific rebalance. The Vice President made a special detour to Changi Naval Base, where Freedom is moored, to visit the Navy's first littoral combat ship and express support for the military men and women currently deployed to the Asia-Pacific region.

After touring the ship, Vice President Biden conducted an all-hands call with Freedom's crew and Sailors from the guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), which was also docked at Changi Naval Base where both ships participated in the recently concluded Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise with the Republic of Singapore Navy.

"I came for two reasons," said the Vice President to the more than 140 Sailors and American embassy staff assembled in Freedom's airborne mission zone. "One to demonstrate that this ship, one of the newest additions to the United States Navy, is an incredible and crucial part of our Navy's capacity. And two, to let the world know how proud we are of you."

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The bilateral exercise codenamed Valiant Mark between the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the United States Marine Corps (USMC) drew to a close on the evening of 30 Sep at Bedok Camp. A few hours before then, the two sides were still locked in a gruelling three-day battalion-level exercise. If they were fatigued, it certainly did not show in the soldiers from the two armed forces.

During his speech at the closing ceremony, Senior Lieutenant Colonel (SLTC) Clifford Keong, Commander 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade spoke of the enduring ties between personnel from both armed forces. "I hope that our bonds will continue to be strong, building ties that go beyond teamwork towards a lifelong brotherhood," said SLTC Keong, who had first encountered USMC personnel as a young officer about 15 years ago.

"Such exercises definitely go a long way to ensure interoperability," added SLTC Keong.

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Singapore, US start joint military exercise

Singapore and the United States on Tuesday began to conduct the annual Exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), which first started in 1995.

According to a statement by the Singapore Defense Ministry on Tuesday, this year's CARAT, to be conducted from June 1 to 11, will focus on maritime warfare competencies such as anti-air warfare, diving and salvage operations, medical and logistics support.

Besides the more than 1500 personnel from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), the US Navy, and the US Coast Guard, the exercise also involves combined land, sea and air assets from the SAF and US forces, including 12 ships, a submarine as well as fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

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China trembling in fear

The Philippines have announced more effort to counter China militarily in the South China Sea. Other than announcing that it will increase its military budget, it is now seeking funds from other countries, it has acquires more military hardware, the latest are two big navy ships from the Americans.

It has also announced that it will be moving it armed forces to the Subic Naval Base to be nearer to the islands in dispute so that it can react to the Chinese presence. The fighter aircrafts and warships will be able to engage the Chinese faster in the new base

Philippines also has the backing of the US and Japan and should present a very formidable challenge to the Chinese forces in the area. The Chinese must be shivering in their pants. The strongest military power of Asean is flexing its muscles and telling China not to trifle with it or would face a military challenge by the latter

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US warship in Singapore gives punch to US Asian 'pivot'

A US warship designed to fight in coastal areas arrived Thursday in Singapore for its Southeast Asian deployment, underlining President Barack Obama's new strategic focus on Asia.

The deployment of the USS Freedom comes at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and as China publicly flexes its naval muscle in the South China Sea, where it has competing territorial claims with some Southeast Asian states.

US Navy officials said the Freedom, a littoral combat ship, sailed into Changi Naval Base at around 11:00 am (0300 GMT) in Singapore, a long-standing US ally that assists in logistics and exercises for forces in Southeast Asia.

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U.S. warship in Singapore gives punch to Asian ‘pivot’

Singapore warns Obama: Do more to counter a rising China

President Obama listens as Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on Tuesday.

In Washington, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says that the US must strengthen its economic ties in Asia to maintain a leadership role and balance the rise of China.

The prime minister of Singapore – one of America’s most reliable partners in Southeast Asia and its 11th largest trading partner – is in Washington this week delivering a cautionary message: We want the United States and its leadership and stabilizing power in the region, but you are falling behind China, especially in terms of economic relations and trade.

“Over the last decade, China has become the top trading partner of almost all Southeast Asian nations, including US allies such as the Philippines and Thailand,” Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at a Washington dinner Tuesday night sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce and the US-ASEAN Business Council.

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US warship in Singapore gives punch to US Asian 'pivot'

A US warship designed to fight in coastal areas arrived Thursday in Singapore for its Southeast Asian deployment, underlining President Barack Obama's new strategic focus on Asia.

The deployment of the USS Freedom comes at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and as China publicly flexes its naval muscle in the South China Sea, where it has competing territorial claims with some Southeast Asian states.

US Navy officials said the Freedom, a littoral combat ship, sailed into Changi Naval Base at around 11:00 am (0300 GMT) in Singapore, a long-standing US ally that assists in logistics and exercises for forces in Southeast Asia.

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PM Lee looks forward to Freedom in Singapore

The USS Freedom is the US navy’s first littoral combat ship. Produced by the Lockheed Martin consortium, it is designed for missions in shallow waters, capable against submarines and ships,  has a helicopter launch-and-recovery flight deck and can carry out minesweeping as well as humanitarian relief operations. The ship is 377 feet (115 metres) long, displaces 3,000 metric tons and can go faster than 40 knots (46 mph; 74 kmh), according to Wikipedia.

Reiterating Singapore’s close relations with the United States, PM Lee said: “We look forward particularly in the next few weeks to welcoming the first littoral combat ship, which will be arriving in Singapore and we will be playing host to it for a few months.”

Freedom will deploy to Southeast Asia and Singapore for approximately eight months, the US Pacific Fleet announced in late February.  The ship left its home port, San Diego, and called at the US naval base in Guam, which led to this report.

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Obama thanks Singapore for military help
US President Barack Obama met Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for talks at the Oval Office (photo/ Ministry for Communication & Information)

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama thanked Singapore for its military help on Tuesday, as the first of a new generation of US coastal warships steamed to the city state to support his policy "pivot" to Asia.

Mr Obama made a point of pouring praise on Singapore as an example to the world and as an important ally and source of counsel for Washington in Asia as he welcomed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for Oval Office talks.

The meeting took place just before the USS Freedom, a littoral combat ship, arrives to start a temporary deployment, one of four of the stealthy vessels that will be rotated through Singapore. 

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PM Lee draws groans as “Mee Siam Mai Hum” comedy gig goes global

Interviewed after the show, Mr Lee said, “I always knew there is a funny yet sophisticated side to me.” 

“There’s this pent-up humour in my belly that was kept inside for too long. I mean, just look at the grim faces I have to live with at home.”

Since the success of his debut act “Mee Siam Mai Hum” at the 2006 National Day Rally, Lee has received strong encouragement from his faithful yes-men fan club to bring the show international.

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PM Lee tries to humor his American business audience with bad taste jokes about China during an after-dinner speech in US

The Vancouver Sun, 2 Apr 2013

Singapore is well-known for its efficiency and order, but on a visit to Washington the city state's prime minister displayed a less advertised attribute — humour.

In an after-dinner speech to U.S. businessmen, Lee Hsien Loong made a couple of jokes that could pass for stand-up comedy.

He drew laughs — and some groans — with his quips, including about China's environmental problems.

"Beijing residents joke that to get a free smoke all they have to do is open their windows!" Lee said.

He then alluded to thousands of pig carcasses recently fished from Chinese rivers. 

"(In) Shanghai, if you want some pork soup, you just turn on the tap," he said. 

His audience appeared doubtful if that was good taste, until he added: "That's their joke, not mine!"   Full story
  1. Singapore PM draws laughs in US speech -
  2. Singapore PM draws laughs in US speech - Boston Herald
  3. Spore PM tries his hand at after-dinner humor in Washington - Washington Post
  4. Groans greet Singapore PM’s sharing of jokes about China
  5. PM Lee: Poor sense of humour
  6. No Laughing Matter
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PM Lee joking about pork soup

A random joke on a BBC programme in 2003 (‘Top-level jokes’, Business Times, 28 Feb 2003) when he was DPM:

A drunk trying to cross the street was knocked down by a bus. A policeman helped him to his feet and said, “There’s a zebra crossing a few yards away from here.” “Well, I hope he is having better luck than I am,” replied the drunk. (Rating: LOL)

But of course the PM is funniest when the jokes are unintentional, especially when he talks about local food.

I suppose it’s OK for a politician to make a political joke at the expense of other superpowers, but poke fun at a PAP minister and you’ll be at the receiving end of a lawyers’ letter, i.e in hot (pork) soup.

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Singapore PM draws laughs in US speech

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gestures during his meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April, 2, 2013

WASHINGTON — Singapore is well-known for its efficiency and order, but during a visit to Washington the city-state's prime minister displayed a less advertised attribute — humor.

In an after-dinner speech Tuesday to U.S. businessmen, Lee Hsien Loong made a couple of jokes that could pass for stand-up comedy.

He drew laughs — and some groans — with his quips, including one about China's environmental problems.

"Beijing residents joke that to get a free smoke all they have to do is open their windows!" Lee said.

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The 'Mee Siam Mai Hum' Mystery

During one of his speeches a couple of years ago, the Prime Minister said, 'Mee siam mai hum.' He was relating how he would order the noodle dish, mee siam, without cockles. It was perhaps an attempt to connect with commoners who eat humble stuff, like me. But the speech set tongues wagging, to put it mildly, 'cause mee siam doesn't have cockles, ever.

The harsher critiques thought the PM's little boo-boo showed how disconnected he was with everyday life. But I think there could be another explanation for his culinary faux pas. What he actually wanted to say was mee siam without tamarind, or mee siam mai assam. How do I know that? Take a look at his grandmother's mee siam recipe, extracted from Mrs Lee's Cookbook (Mrs Lee being said grandmother):

Run your eye through the list of ingredients for the gravy. See? There's no assam in Grandma's recipe

So, confronted with the commoners' version that always comes with assam, the PM would say mee siam mai assam. But that fateful day, no thanks to a slip of the tongue, he said mai hum instead

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Could this be a monumental gaffe?

PM Lee could have thought that he was being brilliant in his joke and maybe never occurred to him whether or not the Chinese were amused by it. By any standard it could only be described as a sick joke considering the standing of the audience. Even if PM Lee had wanted to please the Americans, was there a necessity for him to insult the Chinese? Is it in Singapore's interest for him to show such abject adulation to the Americans at the expense of the Chinese?

The Chinese are by nature a tolerant people but they also have a long memory. 

It is interesting that PM Lee had tried to explain after he had cracked the unsavoury joke that he was just quoting what the Chinese had said. What is intriguing, if what PM Lee said is true, is why the Chinese would want to denigrate themselves. If the Chinese had cracked the joke about themelves it is strange that our Chinese paper could have missed it. The unsavoury joke by PM Lee was strangely given a miss by The Straits Times and the Lianhe Zaobao. They could have considered it wise not to publish it. So far, there has been no reaction from the Chinese to PM Lee,s antics, probably preferring to keep this matter close to their chest for the time being.

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Americans are so poor in current affairs:They wrongly identify woman as S'pore PM

A video uploaded on YouTube by The Pentagon Channel has wrongly identified a Malawian woman as Singapore's Prime Minister.

The clip shows the United States Secretary of Defense welcoming the woman to the Pentagon, and proves how ill-informed Americans are when it comes to current affairs.

Chuck Hagel met with the woman on April 1 and thanked her for 'hosting the navy's combat ship, the USS Freedom, which is currently en route to Singapore and expected to arrive later this month.'

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PM Lee welcomes US Asian engagement

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaking to President Barack Obama

Thank you, Mr. President.  I’m very happy to be here in Washington during cherry blossom season and very honoured to be calling on the President so early in his second term.

We have very good relations between Singapore and the United States, grown in deep cooperation.  We work together in education, research and development.  We work together in economic areas and trade.  We work together in counterterrorism and defence.  And it’s a comprehensive relationship, and we look forward particularly in the next few weeks to welcoming the first littoral combat ship, which will be arriving in Singapore and we will be playing host to it for a few months.

But more broadly, Singapore is very happy that the U.S. and the Obama administration has been putting greater emphasis on its relation to Asia; that it’s rebalancing towards Asia, and that it’s engaging Asia across many fronts — not just security, but also economics, also cultural and educational.  And Singapore would like to be of help in furthering this process in deepening the relationship. 

War-indulger Obama thanks war-happy PM Lee

President Barack Obama thanked PM Lee for military help that Singapore has rendered. No mention what that military help is. But there's no need to. We all know it is our military deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq, colluding with Terrormerica in usurping lands that's not ours, and killing innocent civilians, children included.

Long before the agreement to allow Americuh's terror ships to be around here, we have already been known to have helped Americuh killed innocents in Afghanistan and Iraq for the last ten years or so. That's what Barack Obama appears to be thanking us for.

Now here's even more reason to thank us. We're gonna let Americuh's terror ships dock right at our doorstep

US sees further military cooperation with Singapore

WASHINGTON: The United States said Monday that it anticipated further military cooperation with Singapore as Washington presses forward its strategy of putting a greater focus on dispute-ridden Asia.

Is Hsien Loong really trembling?

Pentagon chief assured a worried Lee Hsien Loong of US military commitment? Is this what Hsien Loong is in Washington all about, that he is worried that the Americans will abandon the Asia Pacific region because of a Chinese threat? How did the Americans got to know that Hsien Loong was worried of the Chinese threat? Did Hsien Loong or someone from Singapore whisper to the Americans about this? Or is it a red herring that the Americans are sowing to create a divide between China and Singapore?

With this disclosure, that China is what Singapore is afraid of, and Hsien Loong so worried to make a 4 day official trip to Washington, would China keep quiet about it? Would China stop inviting Hsien Loong or LKY to Beijing, or would some top level visits be cancelled?

Now, would the MFA come up with another clarification that the Americans were putting words in Hsien Loong’s mouth, that there is no such thing, that there is nothing to fear about China? We are friends of China, we welcome all the big powers into the region peacefully and we are not American lackeys trying to contain China’s influence in the region. We are not part of the American scheme of things to balance China’s position in the region. Singapore needs not worry until China puts a claim on Pedra Branca. And if the Americans did not correct this misinformation, would Singapore continue to buy the F35s?

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USS Freedom's port call in Guam puts her five sailing days from Singapore 

The United States Navy's Singapore-bound Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), USS Freedom, is due to make a port call in Guam on Good Friday today.

Indications are that the LCS will remain in Guam till at least Tuesday (2 April'13).

Freedom is within five to six sailing days from Singapore. You can do the math for a guesstimate of her arrival in Singapore 

US Defence Secretary hosts PM Lee at Pentagon

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, hosts an honor cordon and working lunch for Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Pentagon, April 1, 2013. (Photo DOD)

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel held a working lunch with PM Lee at the Pentagon yesterday (1 Apr).

A Pentagon spokesperson said, “The meeting was an opportunity for Secretary Hagel to hear the Prime Minister’s views on regional security issues, including how nations can work with one another to peacefully resolve territorial issues in the East and South China Seas.”

Mr Hagel thanked Mr Lee for the strong ties of friendship and close collaboration on a number of shared interests, including Afghanistan, counterpiracy and counterproliferation efforts. 

China wages stealth war in Asian waters
China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is a focus of American (Wu Dengfeng / New China News)

BEIJING — When a two-engine Chinese turboprop darted over disputed islands in the East China Sea, the first foreign intrusion into Japanese airspace in more than 50 years, the People's Liberation Army was able to truthfully profess its innocence.

The tiny turboprop belonged to China Marine Surveillance, a once-obscure cog in the vast bureaucracy that has become a kind of paramilitary force in Asian waters

A host of Chinese agencies with innocuous titles -- the Maritime Safety Administration, the Fisheries Law Enforcement Command, the State Oceanic Administration -- have become stealth warriors in Beijing's campaign to press its territorial claims in Asian waters. 

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PM Lee: Singapore is happy the Americans have taken a stand against the Islamic State

US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon jets flying in echelon formation en route to an exercise. Photo: Reuters

While Singapore is glad that the Americans have taken a stand against the Islamic State militant group, the Republic has not yet decided whether or how it will support the United States-led coalition campaign given the complexity of the situation, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.

Speaking to the Singapore media in an interview to wrap up his week-long work trip to China and Hong Kong, Mr Lee was asked if the Republic will be joining the coalition. Mr Lee said: “We are happy that the Americans have taken a stand ... This is a threat to people all over the world.”

He added: “How we can support the American-led effort? That’s something we can discuss. We have not reached a point of making a decision yet. Even how the Americans are going to pursue this and what they’re going to do, they haven’t quite decided yet.”

U.S. Relations With Singapore

For more than half a century, the United States and Singapore have forged an expansive and enduring relationship based on mutual economic interests, robust security and defense cooperation, and enduring people-to-people ties. Our two countries have worked as close partners in support of a rules-based economic and security order in the Asia-Pacific and have consistently partnered to address global threats and challenges to include terrorism, transnational crime, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Singapore and the United States are closely linked. More than 30,000 Americans live in Singapore. The Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Singapore supports 215,000 American jobs and the United States enjoys a $20 billion trade surplus in goods and services annually. There are 4,200 American businesses in Singapore and American businesses invest over $180 billion dollars in Singapore.

The United States and Singapore work together for greater impact in the region and across the globe. The two countries hold an annual Strategic Partnership Dialogue to strengthen bilateral cooperation and to discuss ways to expand collaboration in new areas. One mechanism that further strengthens our cooperation for the benefit of the Asia-Pacific region is the Third Country Training Program (TCTP). Aimed at providing technical assistance and training to ASEAN member states, TCTP focuses on connectivity, sustainable development, and regional resilience. Since the TCTP program was established, Singapore and the United States have jointly organized 30 workshops and trained over 1,000 ASEAN member government officials in the areas of trade, environment, health, urban planning, and disaster management, among others.

U.S. Assistance to Singapore - The EXBS program has been active in Singapore since 2003 and has provided over $2 million in technical exchanges and assistance. EXBS’ goals in Singapore are to encourage active targeting and enforcement of export controls, full compliance with the four multilateral export control regimes, and cooperation on counter-proliferation prosecution and investigation matters. EXBS assistance for Singapore in 2016 totaled $250,000.

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Singapore-China-US Relations
Chinese President Mr Xi Jinping (left) with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2010.PHOTO: ZAOBAO

Singapore and China mark 25 years of diplomatic relations this year.

On Friday (Nov 6), President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan will make their first state visit to Singapore. In many ways, the ties between Singapore, a city-state of 5.5 million, and China, a behemoth with 1.4 billion people, have been unique.

Here are seven things about the two countries' relationship.

  • BACK IN THE 1970S
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Singapore - Isreal Bilateral Ties
Singapore - China Bilateral Ties
Singapore-India Relations
Singapore-China-US Relations
Singapore - Indonesia Bilateral Ties
"Singapore - US" Bilateral Ties
The Little Red Dot and the Red Dragon
Embracing, Leaning & Tilting towards China
Tensions rise over East China Sea
Aircraft Carriers of China, India and Japan
The Historic Ma-Xi Summit
Religion, terrorism and threats to Singapore
Paris attacks: What about Beirut bombings?
Paris attacks: ISIS threatens attack
Paris attacks: France retaliates
Paris attacks: What is known so far
World reacts to Paris attacks
PM Lee on Paris attacks
Community support vital to fight terror threat
Singapore to join fight against Islamic State
S’pore seriously considering how to help fight Islamic State: PM Lee
Singapore committed to planned F-35 orders
Singapore to buy a few F-35 jets
The F-35 JSF Super Maneuverability
The J-31 Vs The F-35 Stealth Fighter
The J-20 Vs The F-22 Stealth Fighter
Top 10 Fighter Aircraft
6 Most Lethal Aircraft in History
S'pore cannot outsource its security & defence to anyone else
Defending Our Lion City
Singapore buys new “BMW” submarines
Singapore acquires 2 more 218SG submarines
2 New 218SG Sub For Singapore
Singapore to get eight new warships
"Singapore - US" Bilateral Ties
False info online a "threat to Total Defence"