No place for 'empire and aggression' in Indo-Pacific: US Vice-President Mike Pence
In a thinly-veiled reference to China’s assertive posture in the region, United States Vice-President Mike Pence reiterated his message that there is no place for “empire and aggression” In the Indo-Pacific.
Speaking at a joint press conference at the Istana with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday (16 November), Pence said, “The United States seeks an Indo-Pacific where every nation is free to follow its own path, pursue its own interests, where the seas and skies are open to all engaged in peaceful activity.
“Our vision excludes no nation, requiring only that every nation treat their neighbours with respect.”
The Indo-Pacific is an umbrella term for the countries of the Asia-Pacific and India.
Pence, who is in town for the 6th ASEAN-US Summit, also lauded Singapore’s “indispensable role” in negotiations for denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. He stressed that President Donald Trump is “still grateful” for the Republic’s hosting of the Trump-Kim summit in June 2018.
Calling Singapore “an inspiration to the entire world” for its rapid progress as a nation in just 53 years, Pence hailed the close economic defence ties between the two countries.
On his part, Lee noted that Singapore is the second-largest Asian investor in the US, with companies and investments in more than 30 American states, including Pence’s home state of Indiana.
“The US is also Singapore’s largest foreign investor, with nearly 4,500 American companies, many basing their Asian HQs here to access the region,” added the PM.
He quipped, to laughter from the room, “Even Shake Shack is opening its first burger outlet in Singapore very soon, which is the most important investment.”
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