S’pore and US renew defence agreement

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25 Sep 2019 | DIPLOMACY

S’pore and US renew defence agreement

// Report by Thrina Tham

// Photos by Rachel Teng, Chua Soon Lye & courtesy of RSN & RSAF

English Melayu
Mr Lee and Mr Trump meeting in New York where they signed the 2019 AMOU and reaffirmed the enduring and broad-based partnership between Singapore and US in economics, defence and security. The meeting was also attended by Singapore leaders including Dr Ng (front row, third from left).

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and United States (US) President Donald  Trump signed an agreement to renew the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Regarding United States' Use of Facilities in Singapore on 24 Sep.

The Protocol of Amendment to the 1990 MOU, or 2019 AMOU, will extend the original MOU for another 15 years.

The 1990 MOU facilitates the US' access to Singapore's air and naval bases and provides logistic support for the US' transiting personnel, aircraft and vessels. It was first signed by Singapore's founding Prime Minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and then-US Vice President Dan Quayle.

Under the agreement, the US has rotationally deployed fighter aircraft for exercises, refuelling and maintenance to Singapore. It has also deployed Littoral Combat Ships to Singapore since 2013 and P-8 Poseidon aircraft since 2015.

The signing of the 2019 AMOU reflects the shared belief that the US' presence in the Asia-Pacific remains vital for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

In addition to the 1990 MOU, Singapore and the US have signed other milestone agreements such as the 2015 enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement which built upon the strong defence partnership in new areas such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief as well as cyber defence.

Exercise Tiger Balm, which marked its 39th edition this year, saw a coordinated response from the Singapore and US armies to counter Improvised Explosive Devices for the first time.

Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen, who is in New York from 22 to 26 Sep as part of Mr Lee's delegation, also spoke with his counterpart US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper over the phone on 24 Sep.

The defence leaders discussed the good progress of key ongoing initiatives, particularly in defence technology and military-to-military cooperation. They also reaffirmed the strong ties between the two armed forces.

Four ships and more than 600 personnel from Singapore, Thailand and the US took part in the inaugural multilateral Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise in 2017.

Over the years, Singapore and the US have enhanced cooperation in various joint and multilateral exercises.

These include Exercise Tiger Balm, the longest-running bilateral exercise between the Singapore and US armies, which marked its 39th edition this year with 800 soldiers taking part.

Other examples are the multilateral naval exercise CARAT and a large-scale air-to-air combat exercise, Exercise Red Flag – Nellis.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force has been participating in Exercise Red Flag – Nellis since 1982. It clinched the Outstanding Aircraft Maintenance Unit award at this year’s exercise.
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