Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen met today in Singapore. Secretary Gates is in Singapore to attend the Shangri-La Dialogue.
During their meeting, Secretary Gates and Minister Ng reaffirmed the excellent and longstanding bilateral defence relationship between the US and Singapore. Secretary Gates and Minister Ng welcomed the substantial progress made in deepening bilateral defence cooperation since the signing of the Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA) in 2005, which underscores both countries' shared belief that a strong US presence in the region has enhanced regional peace and stability. In this regard, Secretary Gates and Minister Ng supported the US' continued engagement in the region, and the need for both sides to continue working together to address transnational security threats and enhance regional security.
Secretary Gates and Minister Ng were pleased to note the useful contributions made by Singapore on the stabilisation and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, and on the international counter-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden.
Secretary Gates and Minister Ng also reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening bilateral defence cooperation, in line with the spirit and vision of the SFA. In particular, Secretary Gates and Minister Ng agreed to work towards more tangible cooperation at the operational level, including through expanded training, improved command and control capabilities, and deployment opportunities. Both sides have also worked closely, across military services, to further operationalise the SFA and enhance the US' presence and engagement in the region.