Singapore - The following is a Joint Statement on the 4th United States-Singapore Strategic Partnership Dialogue, today.
- Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Chee Wee Kiong and United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel met in Singapore on 22 January 2016 to co-chair the 4th United States-Singapore Strategic Partnership Dialogue. The annual Dialogue serves to strengthen bilateral cooperation and the strategic partnership between the two countries. In the spirit of equal partnership, mutual respect, and desire to promote closer ties, the co-chairs reviewed the ongoing areas of cooperation between the United States and Singapore, and discussed ways to expand bilateral collaboration in new areas. The co-chairs also exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest and concern.
- Both sides affirmed the strong political, economic, and defense ties between Singapore and the United States. They noted that the 2004 U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement laid the groundwork for the robust and mutually-beneficial economic relationship both countries enjoy today. The co-chairs recognized the strategic and economic imperatives for all participating countries to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement expeditiously, which would mark a significant step towards the establishment of an open and transparent multilateral trading system in the Asia-Pacific and the active economic engagement of the United States in the region.
- The co-chairs welcomed the signing of the enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) in December 2015, an update to the 2005 U.S.-Singapore DCA and part of the bilateral Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA) between both sides. The SFA underpins a close defense and security partnership that has contributed to maintaining regional peace and stability. The co-chairs also discussed a range of military and non-military security cooperation, including law enforcement and countering violent extremism. Both sides looked forward to expanding cooperation in cybersecurity through Singapore’s newly established Cyber Security Agency.
- The co-chairs welcomed the renewal of the Singapore-U.S. Third Country Training Programme (TCTP) in August 2015, which has trained more than 500 officials from Southeast Asia in diverse areas such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, cybercrime prevention, public health, trade facilitation, and energy efficient buildings since its establishment in February 2012. The co-chairs were gratified by the expansion of the TCTP into new areas, such as tackling emerging security threats, promoting TPP standards, and sustainable development.
- The co-chairs exchanged views on regional and global developments as well as regional architecture such as the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), East Asia Summit (EAS), and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Both sides welcomed the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which would present more opportunities for collaboration between the United States and ASEAN countries. The co-chairs discussed possible ways in which these regional institutions could be leveraged to better address common transnational challenges facing the region including transboundary haze pollution, climate change, and violent extremism. The co-chairs also welcomed the upcoming ASEAN-U.S. Summit in Sunnylands, California, in February 2016, which signals the strong commitment of both sides to the new ASEAN-U.S. Strategic Partnership.
- They reaffirmed the importance of maintaining regional peace and stability and upholding the freedom of navigation in and overflight over the South China Sea (SCS). They also emphasized the importance for all parties to resolve their claims calmly and peacefully in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and urged all parties to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and to avoid action that would escalate tensions, including the further militarization of outposts in the SCS. They underscored the commitment of ASEAN Member States and China to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety, and urged all parties to work expeditiously towards concluding the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). They also welcomed ASEAN and China’s recent agreement to pursue an extension of the observation of the Code of Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) to all parties’ naval vessels in the SCS so as to reduce the risk of miscalculations in the SCS.
- The co-chairs also expressed grave concern over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s recent announcement that it had conducted a nuclear test on 6 January 2016. This was a dangerous and provocative act, a clear breach of the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, and carried serious implications on the peace and stability of the region. Both sides strongly reiterated their call for the DPRK to desist from further such actions and abide by its international obligations and commitments.
The co-chairs welcomed the regular high-level exchanges between both countries. Then-Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam visited the United States in June 2015, while Secretary of State John Kerry made his first official visit to Singapore in August 2015. Most recently, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Barack Obama held a fruitful meeting on the sidelines of the EAS in Kuala Lumpur in November 2015, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan met Secretary Kerry at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. Both countries looked forward to upcoming visits between both sides in the year ahead, as Singapore and the United States celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Prime Minister Lee will attend the ASEAN-U.S. Summit in Sunnylands in February 2016 as well as the 4th Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. in March 2016. Minister Balakrishnan will also make his introductory visit to the United States this year.