Vice President Pence, Prime Minister Lee reaffirm U.S.-Singapore ties

Vice President Mike Pence and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reaffirmed the longstanding and multi-faceted partnership between Singapore and the United States during a joint press conference today at the Istana. They welcomed the broad slate of high-level bilateral interactions this year, including visits to Singapore by President Donald J Trump, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. There were also visits to the U.S. by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social and Economic Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, and Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong.

Both sides affirmed the robust U.S.-Singapore defense relationship, anchored on the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the 2005 Strategic Framework Agreement, and the 2015 enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement.

Vice President Pence said: “Singapore shines brightly and the United States is proud to call Singapore a strategic partner and friend.” He added that the U.S. is proud to stand together with Singapore “to advance our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.” Prime Minister Lee described the relationship as “deep and wide,” with close cooperation in many areas, including economic, defense, security, and people-to-people spheres. He expressed confidence that the “strong and mature bilateral relationship will continue to strengthen at all levels.”

Both welcomed new and expanded bilateral cooperation initiatives:

  • The signing of a Declaration of Intent to jointly develop a Singapore-U.S. Cybersecurity Technical Assistance Programme for ASEAN member states, further strengthening partnerships in regional cybersecurity capacity building
  • The renewal of the S.-Singapore Collaboration Platform MOU between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Singapore Ministry of Trade, which has expanded the Platform’s scope to include cooperation on energy, standards, advanced manufacturing and technology partnerships;
  • The signing of a Tax Information Exchange Agreement, which will permit the U.S. and Singapore to exchange relevant tax information to enforce our respective tax laws;
  • And a reciprocal Inter-Governmental Agreement, which will provide for the automatic exchange of information with respect to financial accounts under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

The Vice President received an Official Welcome Ceremony, after which Vice President Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence attended a ceremony where a new orchid hybrid, the Papilionanda Mike and Karen Pence, was named in their honor. Its petals and sepals are “a delightful orangey pink with purple tessellations and complemented by a showy red lip.”

Read the full transcript of Vice President Pence and Prime Minister Lee’s remarks here and the full press statement from Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.