Vice President’s Ceremonial Office
3:19 P.M. EDT
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Okay, good afternoon, everyone. It is my great pleasure to see you again, Mr. Prime Minister. You and I had an extensive and wonderful visit when I was in Singapore in August. We discussed many issues that impact our nations and the world. And today was a continuation of that conversation with a number of do-outs from the conversation that we originally had.
I must say, at the beginning, what I said to you then and today remains absolutely true: The United States is a proud member of the Indo-Pacific, and the relationship that we have with the nations in that region and with Singapore is an enduring relationship. It is a relationship we value and we prioritize for many reasons, including the shared principle that we have about what is important in terms of world order and international norms and standards.
The focus of the trip in August was to do what is important and what is possible in continuing to strengthen and reaffirm the relationship that the United States has with Singapore.
And the importance of the relationship spans many areas, including what is in our mutual interest and our shared interest in terms of our own nations’ strength and prosperity.
You and I discussed the issue of Russia and Ukraine. And we, in the spirit of our work together being global, discussed our support for the people of Ukraine and also the importance of acknowledging the economic costs that Singapore levied as a result of our shared concern about the advancement that Russia and the — and the aggression that Russia has taken, and the threat that it has posed to an issue that we hold dearly — and I’ll speak for the United States, and I know that we share this concern — about upholding the importance of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
But the bigger issue is not only about what we must do to maintain and fight for, for the United States, European security, but what we must do as a matter of principle and priority for our nation in standing up to the importance of rules and norms and international rules and norms — again, in this case, as it relates to sovereignty and territorial integrity.
During the August trip, we launched many initiatives that are about shaping the future of our nations and our world. And today, of course, again, is a follow-up to that conversation, including what we are doing together in the context of space.
I am very pleased that as a follow-up to the discussion that you and I had in Singapore, that Singapore has signed on to the Artemis Accords, which of course is a partnership between many nations, Southeast Asia now being represented; Singapore being the fourth Southeast Asian nation to recognize what we can do together to expand international norms as it relates to all matters, including matters in space.
And so, we have discussed that. We have discussed, of course, the importance of working together on the issue of cyber, both as a security matter but also as a matter that relates to our nation’s prosperity and investment in innovation. And so, we have announced, and you announced with the President today, the U.S.-Singapore Cyber Dialogue.
We have also discussed other issues that relate to our economies and, again, prosperity of our respective nations, including the importance of collaboration on the issue of supply chains — something we talked about back in August and have discussed again today — and our commitment to moving forward together on this important work.
And we have discussed the importance of climate and what our nations have the ability and have the commitment to do to be leaders on this issue that threatens the security and the wellbeing of our entire globe.
So, with that, Mr. Prime Minister, I thank you for the visit and for our conversation. I look forward to many more. And I thank you for the friendship as well.
PRIME MINISTER LEE: Thank you, Vice President — Vice President Harris, ladies and gentlemen. I thank the Vice President for her very warm remarks. We last met in August, in Singapore, and we continued with a very good conversation this afternoon, reaffirming the longstanding and robust partnership between our two countries.
And we also discussed the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and reiterated our shared commitment to a stable, rules-based global order.
The U.S. has played an important and constructive role in the Asia Pacific for nearly eighty* years. Singapore has consistently supported a strong U.S. presence in the region, both through words and actions. And our two countries enjoy close economic relations.
Our U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement signed in 2004, nearly 20 years ago, was the U.S.’s first FTA with an Asian country. Singapore is home to nearly 5,500 U.S. companies, and U.S. FDI stock in Singapore exceeds U.S. investments in China, India, and the Republic of Korea combined.
Singapore is also the second-largest Asian investor in the U.S. So, Singapore’s investment in the U.S. and U.S. exports to Singapore support more than a quarter million U.S. jobs.
Our security and defense ties go back many decades. We’re a major security cooperation partner of the U.S. Our Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation, signed in 1990 and renewed recently in 2019, provides the U.S. military with access to Singapore’s air and naval bases.
Vice President Harris visited the littoral combat ship USS Tulsa at our Changi Naval Base when she visited Singapore, and she could see firsthand how Singapore supports the U.S. military presence and its defense engagements in the region.
Singapore also has one of the largest foreign training presences in the U.S. We are grateful for U.S. support, for their air force training, which we conduct with detachments in Arizona and Idaho.
And we continue to work together to jointly face challenges on the horizon, deepening defense cooperation in areas like cyber defense, artificial intelligence, and joint training with the F-35s.
The Vice President and I reviewed progress on the substantial agenda of deliverables announced on her visit last year. We’ve established a bilateral cyber dialogue to work together on critical infrastructure protection, data security, and sharing of best practices in support of a rules-based multilateral order in cyberspace.
We’re expanding the MOU between MTI and DFC to deepen collaboration in green and sustainable infrastructure projects in the region.
And as the Vice President told you, Singapore has signed the Artemis Accords, which aim to promote the peaceful, sustainable, and beneficial use of space. We are the first Southeast Asian country to sign on, and we had a good discussion about this because the Vice President chairs the White House National Space Council.
So I’m very glad that the Vice President and I were able to meet again to discuss ways to take our partnership to even greater heights. And we look forward to the next occasion to meet the Vice President once more, either in Washington or, I hope, in Singapore.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you.
PRIME MINISTER LEE: Thank you very much.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you again, Mr. Prime Minister.
END 3:27 P.M. EDT