SINGAPORE, June 12 (the Straits Times/ANN): Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the United States Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin exchanged views on global developments and security issues when they met on Saturday (June 11).
Austin was one of three defence ministers whom PM Lee met at the Istana on Saturday, the other two being Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto and Malaysian Senior Minister for Defence Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
They are in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue, a high-level security summit taking place until Sunday (June 12). The three meetings were also attended by Senior Minister of State for Defence Zaqy Mohamad.
The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said on Saturday that PM Lee and Austin reaffirmed the excellent and longstanding bilateral defence relations between the two countries.
"They exchanged views on geopolitical developments and regional security issues, and agreed on the importance of the US' continued engagement of the region. PM Lee expressed appreciation for the US' longstanding support for the Singapore Armed Forces' training in the US," said Mindef.
The ministry added that Austin acknowledged the positive trajectory of bilateral defence relations that has expanded into new areas of cooperation such as counter-terrorism, biosecurity, cyber defence and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
During the meeting between PM Lee and Prabowo, Mindef said the pair reaffirmed the close and longstanding bilateral and people-to-people relations between Singapore and Indonesia.
"This is underscored by the signing of a set of agreements under the expanded Framework during the Leaders' Retreat in January 2022. PM Lee and Prabowo also exchanged views on global concerns such as counterterrorism, maritime and food security, and reiterated the importance of strengthening cooperation and trust between both countries."
At the meeting between PM Lee and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin, the leaders reaffirmed the longstanding relationship and extensive cooperation, and the strong people-to-people ties between Singapore and Malaysia.
It added that PM Lee and Hishammuddin discussed both countries' responses to common regional security challenges such as cyber and maritime security as well as counterterrorism.
They reiterated the importance of strengthening existing defence cooperation through multilateral platforms, and also underscored the effectiveness of combined cooperative measures such as the Malacca Straits Patrol and the Counter-Terrorism Information Facility in enhancing regional security and stability. - The Straits Times/ANN