WASHINGTON, May 30, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met today with top Singaporean leaders to discuss recent events in the Asia-Pacific region and the defense relationship between the United States and Singapore.
Hagel is in Singapore to attend the annual Asia security conference known as the Shangri-La Dialogue.
The secretary thanked Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for Singapore’s continued leadership in the region, particularly with respect to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement. “He also thanked the prime minister for Singapore’s role in hosting the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, underscoring the growing importance of such meetings as the region continues to face shared challenges,” he added.
The two leaders discussed recent events in the South and East China seas and reiterated the need for any disputes to be resolved in a peaceful manner consistent with international law that respects the principle of freedom of navigation, Kirby said, and Hagel discussed the continued and deep U.S. commitment to the region’s security and prosperity.
Hagel also met privately with Singaporean Defense Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen.
“Secretary Hagel thanked Minister Ng for his strong support of the relationship our two militaries continue to enjoy,” Kirby said. “They also discussed a range of regional security issues, to include tensions in the South and East China seas, recent events in Thailand, defense reforms in Japan, and the need for a continued focus on dialogue, cooperation and the peaceful resolution of disputes in the region.”
Hagel reiterated the U.S. commitment to its security obligations in the Asia-Pacific region, the press secretary added, and stressed the importance of multilateral venues like the Shangri-La Dialogue to helping all Pacific nations work more closely together in improving mutual understanding, transparency and cooperation.