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Defence Minister asks Trump to continue US strategy of being stabilising force in region

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Speaking at the fourth Reagan National Defense Forum (RNDF) today (4 Dec), Dr Ng Eng Hen, said that Singapore supports the United States of America’s (US) engagement of the Asia-Pacific region. Dr Ng, Singapore’s Defence Minister, spoke on the topic of “A View of US National Defense from Friends and Allies” and addressed key players in the defence community to address national security issues.

Dr Ng noted that the US’ presence in the Asia-Pacific region based predominantly on security is unidimensional and structurally brittle. “The US needs a multifaceted relationship with countries in Asia,” he said. Adding: “Singapore looks forward to working with the new administration to continue to allow the US to be a stabilising force in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Established in 2013, the RNDF brings together distinguished leaders and key players in the defence community to address national security issues. This year’s RNDF is attended by the US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and other US national security officials, foreign defence ministers, Members of the US Congress, policy experts and military leaders.

Dr Ng spoke alongside United Kingdom Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon, US Senate Armed Services Committee member Senator Lindsey Graham, Norwegian Minister of Defence Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, and House Armed Services Committee member and NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Mike Turner on the panel. 

The Defence Minister pointed out that America’s presence in the in the Asia-Pacific region cannot be for the sole purpose of containing China. “It is neither possible nor strategically necessary to contain China’s rise,” he acknowledged.

He said that China needs the world as much as the world needs China, and that this interdependence will grow, not diminish.

“China is now an integral leader of global systems of trade, finance and security,” he said and suggested that the rise of China, India and ASEAN is the result of the “US foreign and defence policies over the last 70 years.”

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