Singapore, US discuss importance of free, open Indo-Pacific hinh anh 1Singaporean Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen talks with US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (on screen) during a bilateral video conference on August 31. (Photo: Singapore's Ministry of Defence)

Hanoi (VNA)
– Singaporean Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen and his US counterpart Mark Esper discussed various regional security issues, including the East Sea, counterterrorism, and the importance of ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific, during their virtual meeting on August 31.

A media release by The Pentagon revealed that the two sides reaffirmed their commitments to the “excellent and long-standing bilateral defense relationship and mutually-beneficial partnership.''

Meanwhile, the Singaporean Ministry of Defence said in a statement that the two defence chiefs also discussed a wide range of regional and geopolitical developments, including the need for regional defence establishments to work closely to address common threats such as COVID-19 and terrorism.

It said both countries enjoy extensive defence interactions, including dialogues, military-to-military exchanges, training and cross-attendance of courses, and defence technology cooperation. Both sides also addressed the importance of maintaining the momentum of bilateral cooperation initiatives amid the pandemic.

Esper expressed appreciation for the regional access that Singapore provides US forces which has been extended for another 15 years.

Last September, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and US President Donald Trump renewed the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Regarding US Use of Facilities in Singapore through the Protocol of Amendment, extending the agreement for extra 15 years./.