Acting United States (US) Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan is in Singapore for the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD). He was hosted to breakfast by Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen this morning. Acting Secretary Shanahan will also call on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana later today.
Reaffirming the excellent and long-standing bilateral defence relations between Singapore and the US, Dr Ng and Acting Secretary Shanahan welcomed the renewal of the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the United States Use of Facilities in Singapore. That seminal MOU signed by our founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and then-US Vice President Dan Quayle was the key document that facilitated the US' access to Singapore's air and naval bases, and 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. Both sides agreed to update the 1990 MOU to be renewed by 2020, which will incorporate partnership elements of the US' National Defence Strategy recently articulated for this region. Both sides also discussed key bilateral initiatives including more training detachments for the Republic of Singapore Air Force in a suitable US military base.
During the call, Acting Secretary Shanahan highlighted the US' intent to remain committed in the region, and to work closely with ASEAN. Both sides also exchanged views on a wide range of geopolitical developments and regional security issues, including countering the terrorism threat in Southeast Asia. Both Ministers affirmed the need for stable defence relations between the US and China, particularly as trade tension increase, and for countries in the region to work collectively for the security and prosperity of the region.
Acting Secretary 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. Members of the US Congress from both the House and Senate are also attending the SLD.