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

by May 31, 2019 Health

SINGAPORE, May 31 (NNN-CNA) � 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.

Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen hosted Acting US Secretary of Defence 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.

The 1990 MOU was signed by founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and then-US vice president Dan Quayle, and was key to facilitating US access to Singapore’s air and naval bases. It has also underpinned the country’s 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, said MINDEF.

Both sides also discussed bilateral initiatives including more training detachments for the Republic of Singapore Air Force at a suitable US military base.

Mr Shanahan also highlighted the US’ intent to remain committed in the region and to work closely with ASEAN, said MINDEF.

The two ministers also affirmed the need for stable defence relations between the US and China, particularly as trade tensions increase, as well as the need for countries in the region to work collectively.

Shanahan is in Singapore with a delegation of senior US officials, including US Secretary of Navy Richard Spencer and Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Philip Davidson.

He was also scheduled to call on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana later on Friday.

The visit comes after Singapore and China on Wednesday also agreed to update a defence agreement that could see them increase the scale of existing military exercises.

The revised Agreement on Defence Exchanges and Security Cooperation is expected to be signed later this year. � NNN-CNA

Source: NAM News Network