Joint Statement on the Third United States-Singapore Strategic Partnership Dialogue
Following is the text of a joint statement by the United States and Singapore issued on February 13, in Washington, D.C.
Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Mr. Chee Wee Kiong and United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Mr. Daniel Russel met in Washington on February 13, 2015 to co-chair the third United States - Singapore Strategic Partnership Dialogue. The dialogue serves to enhance the excellent bilateral cooperation and strategic partnership between the United States and Singapore. The co-chairs, in the spirit of equal partnership, mutual respect and desire to promote close ties, reviewed the current initiatives undertaken between the two countries and considered new areas to expand cooperation in bilateral relations. They also exchanged perspectives on regional and global matters of mutual interest.
Both sides affirmed their common interests on economic, investment, and trade issues. They noted the successful implementation of the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, which has now been in force for more than a decade. The co-chairs discussed the strategic importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and renewed their commitment to achieving a high-standard agreement that will contribute to establishing an open and inclusive trade and investment framework in the Asia-Pacific. Both sides also recommitted to supporting important regional economic institutions like the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
The co-chairs noted the successful implementation of the Singapore-U.S. Third Country Training Program (TCTP), which just celebrated its third anniversary. The Singapore-U.S. TCTP has trained over 400 officials from Southeast Asia in a range of areas, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, trade facilitation, energy efficiency, urban transport planning, hydrology, and road management. Both sides committed to renew the bilateral memorandum of understanding governing the TCTP to steadily increase offerings under this successful program, including potential new training areas such as security and the environment.
The co-chairs also welcomed the 10th anniversary of the bilateral Strategic Framework Agreement, which underpins a robust bilateral defense and security partnership that has contributed to enhancing regional peace and stability. The co-chairs recognized the ongoing broad bilateral cooperation across the range of military and non-military security issues, including the establishment of a Law Enforcement and Homeland Security and Safety Dialogue. Both sides noted the opportunities to increase cooperation on cyber-security. The co-chairs also noted a mutual desire to work to counter violent extremism in all its forms, having partnered together on the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. Singapore and the United States will continue to work with the United Nations and other partners to address the challenges posed by violent extremism and foreign terrorist fighters.
The co-chairs discussed recent developments in Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and regional institutions such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), East Asia Summit (EAS), and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Both sides shared ideas to use these institutions to manage challenges facing the region including water management, the environment, climate change, and regional stability. They affirmed the importance of regional peace and stability, maritime and aviation security, freedom and safety of navigation and overflight, as well as unimpeded, lawful commerce.
They also emphasized the importance for all countries in the region to resolve their disputes by peaceful means in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They urged all parties to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities, including land reclamation, in the South China Sea. They continued to encourage ASEAN Member States and China to expeditiously work toward the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), to fully and effectively implement the DOC, particularly articles IV and V, and urged all parties to pursue their claims peacefully and in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS.
Both sides welcomed the high-level exchanges between the two countries. These include the visits to the United States by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in July 2014, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam in December 2014, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam in May 2014, Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen in April 2014, and the Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat in January 2014. Both sides also looked forward to an increased level of interaction in the year ahead, particularly in the light of Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence.