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US, Singapore reaffirm close ties on Kerry's first official visit here (The Straits Times)

by August 5, 2015 General

United States Secretary of State John Kerry, making his first official visit to Singapore, called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana yesterday.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) statement said both sides reaffirmed the close and multifaceted bilateral ties between Singapore and the US.

PM Lee welcomed the US’ continued commitment to engage Asia and emphasised the significance of concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as a strong signal of this commitment, MFA added.

At a breakfast meeting that Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam hosted for Mr Kerry, they took stock of the excellent bilateral relationship and reiterated both countries’ commitment to broaden and deepen bilateral cooperation, the MFA statement said.

They also discussed key regional and global developments and ways to enhance the US’ engagement of Asia. In this regard, Mr Shanmugam underscored the TPP’s strategic importance in anchoring the US’ presence in Asia.

The ministry said Mr Shanmugam and Mr Kerry also stressed the importance of all parties adhering to international law to manage the South China Sea disputes and maintain regional stability.

They signed a memorandum of understanding renewing the Singapore-US Third Country Training Programme (TCTP), which provides technical assistance and capacity building to developing countries, in particular Asean member states. The TCTP is a concrete example of the close partnership between Singapore and the US to enhance the US’ engagement of Asia.

In the afternoon, Mr Kerry delivered a speech at the Singapore Management University before leaving Singapore.

He will attend the Asean Regional Forum in Kuala Lumpur this week.