US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel (Source: Xinhua/VNA)
Singapore (VNA) – Foreign affairs officials of Singapore and the US affirmed their strong bilateral ties and pledged to strengthen their strategic partnership, during talks in Singapore on January 22.

A joint statement issued at the 4th US-Singapore Strategic Partnership Dialogue co-chaired by US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel and Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Chee Wee Kiong re-afirmed the strong political, economic, and defence ties between the two nations.

The statement noted that the 2004 US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement laid the groundwork for the robust and mutually beneficial economic relationship both countries enjoy today.

The two sides welcomed the signing of the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) in December 2015, which is an update to the 2005 US-Singapore DCA and part of the bilateral Strategic Framework Agreement between the two countries. They also welcomed the renewal of the Singapore-US Third Country Training Programme, signed in August last year.

The co-chairs exchanged views on regional and universal issues, and those related to regional cooperation mechanisms such as ASEAN, the East Asia Summit, and the ASEAN Region Forum. They applauded the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), saying that AEC will bring more cooperation opportunities to the US and ASEAN member nations.

Regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, the officials also recognised the strategic and economic imperatives for the 12 member countries of TPP to ratify the trade pact expeditiously, which would mark a significant step towards the establishment of an open and transparent multilateral trading system in Asia-Pacific.

The statement also welcomed the upcoming ASEAN-US Summit in Sunnylands, California on February 15-16, which will signal the strong commitment of both sides to the new ASEAN-US Strategic Partnership.

In his remark at the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, Daniel Russel stressed that the Summit will be an informal but “strategic discussion”, focusing on how to promote, trade and investment as well as innovation and entrepreneurship, areas that can boost opportunity and prosperity for the millions of people in the Pacific Rim.

As planned, Russel will continue his tours to Laos’s capital of Vientiane, and Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh for discussions related to preparations for the Summit.-VNA