SINGAPORE — Singapore and the United States on Friday (31 May) agreed to renew a long-standing agreement for the US’ use of military facilities in Singapore.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was first signed in 1990 by Singapore’s first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and then-US vice-president Dan Quayle, facilitates the Americans’ access to the Republic’s air and naval bases, and has underpinned the US’ regional presence for almost 30 years.
Under its ambit, the US has rotationally deployed fighter aircraft for exercises, refuelling and maintenance, as well as Littoral Combat Ships and P-8 Poseidon aircraft to Singapore.
The bilateral defence relationship was reaffirmed as Acting US Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan was hosted to breakfast by Singapore’s Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Friday morning.
They agreed that the 1990 MOU would be renewed by 2020, and it will incorporate partnership elements of the US’ National Defence Strategy recently articulated for this region.
Both sides also discussed key bilateral initiatives, including more training detachments for the Republic of Singapore Air Force in a suitable US military base.
Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore
Shanahan, who is in Singapore for the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue security forum from Friday to Sunday, highlighted the US’ intent to remain committed in the region, and to work closely with Asean.
Both sides exchanged views on a wide range of geopolitical developments and regional security issues, including countering the terrorism threat in Southeast Asia.
They affirmed the need for stable defence relations between the US and China, particularly as trade tensions increase, and for countries in the region to work collectively for the security and prosperity of the region.