Remarks With Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
June 10, 2016


SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning. I’m very happy to receive the foreign minister of Singapore, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, for his first visit as foreign minister to Washington, and really pleased to be able to spend some time with Singapore because Singapore is one of our strongest partners in all of the Asia Pacific. We are celebrating 50 years of our diplomatic relations, and in recognition of that, President Obama has invited Prime Minister Lee to come to Washington for a state visit in a few months, which we are looking forward to. And we’re going to have a chance to talk about and prepare for that visit, but also to talk about the very important duality of our security relationship and our economic relationship, which is particularly highlighted by the importance of the TPP – the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

So welcome, glad to see you again, happy to have you here.

FOREIGN MINISTER BALAKRISHNAN: Thank you. Thank you. Well, it’s great to be back in Washington. Been here many times. This is first in my incarnation in foreign affairs.

First, thank you very much for the invitation by President Obama. I think Prime Minister Lee is looking forward to that and we’ve got quite a lot of homework to do. On the bilateral front, it’s been 50 years. I think I’m glad to report we don’t really have any problems to fix, but we come from Asia, and as you know, there are quite a lot of things happening in that part of the world.

SECRETARY KERRY: Right.

FOREIGN MINISTER BALAKRISHNAN: So I’m looking forward to having some --

SECRETARY KERRY: Good.

FOREIGN MINISTER BALAKRISHNAN: -- blunt, robust discussions.

SECRETARY KERRY: There’s nothing too blunt we have to talk about.

FOREIGN MINISTER BALAKRISHNAN: Well, we are friends. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all very much.

FOREIGN MINISTER BALAKRISHNAN: Thank you. Thank you, guys.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Thanks.