Singapore-US defence ties should continue to strengthen
November 13, 2016
SINGAPORE: Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said Singapore should be able to continue strengthening defence ties with the US - including the incoming Donald Trump administration - based on past experiences and traditionally strong institutional links with both Republican and Democratic parties.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) exercise on Sunday (13 Nov), Dr Ng said Singapore will continue to work with the US "as with other countries within the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus framework".
These include China, India, Japan and South Korea.
His statements come after the US Presidential Elections earlier this week saw Mr Trump voted into power, with campaign promises that included walking away from defence agreements with NATO and Asian allies seen to be not pulling their weight.
Dr Ng said any such agreement that Singapore enters into is made "on the basis of mutual benefit".
"For the US, we are doing a lot with them, and for them - we welcome their planes and their ships through our airbases and Changi Naval Base, where there is a confluence and alignment of interests - for example anti-terrorism.
"We've served in Afghanistan and now we are working towards diminishing Islamic State's ability to radicalise Singaporeans here. We allow their Littoral Combat Ships passage through here. Recently we allowed their P-8s to also transit through here," said Dr Ng.
"So I would say that we've been doing a lot for our defence partners like the US. So I think on that score we've already been doing a lot, and I don't see that as any reason it should diminish ties with the US."
Dr Ng added that the same approach of mutual benefit is also taken towards China, Japan and India.
"Our defence policy starting point is what works the best for Singapore. We are a small country and we know that what big powers do will affect not only Singapore but the entire region and indeed the world," said Dr Ng.
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