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 Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen at the Shangri-La Hotel this morning.
During their meeting, Dr Ng and Secretary Austin reaffirmed the excellent bilateral defence 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 operationalisation of the F-35Bs. Both sides discussed ways to further strengthen defence cooperation between Singapore and the US, such as in the area of cyber defence 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 Defence 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 defence relations, and for regional countries to work collectively for the security and prosperity of the region.
The Singapore-US defence 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 recognised Singapore as a Major Security Cooperation Partner, and the 2015 Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement which expanded defence collaboration across traditional and non-conventional security areas and laid out new areas of cooperation including in counter-terrorism and biosecurity.
Secretary Austin will call on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his visit and will speak at a plenary session titled "Next Steps for the United States' Indo-Pacific Strategy" on 11 June 2022 during the 19th SLD.