US, Singapore renew pact on military use of facilities for 15 years

US President Donald J. Trump signed the Protocol of Amendment to the 1990 MOU Regarding US Use of Facilities in Singapore extending it for another 15 years (PM Office)

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and United States President Donald Trump signed an agreement on Monday, Sept. 23, to renew the 1990 MoU facilitating United States' Use of Facilities in Singapore for another 15 years, at a meeting on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly.

 "The US' military presence has underpinned the peace, stability and prosperity of the region since WW2, and this is something that Singapore has consistently supported," said Prime Minister Lee in a post on Facebook. "Had a good meeting with President Trump and his team. Singapore and the US have mutually beneficial trade and investment ties, and I'm looking forward to strengthening cooperation between the US and Singapore," he said.

The 1990 MOU was signed by founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and then-US vice president Dan Quayle, to facilitate US access to Singapore's air and naval bases, as well as providing logistic support for their transiting personnel, aircraft and vessels, paving the way for US presence in the region for 30 years.

Under the agreement, 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 since 2013 and 2015 respectively.

Singapore's Defence Ministry (MINDEF) said in a statement that the renewal underscores the support for US' presence in the Asia-Pacific, crucial for regional peace, stability and prosperity.

Mr Lee said the agreement was a reflection of the close ties between the two countries. "We've updated it once before, in 2005; and we are very happy to update it once more, to extend it for the next 15 years," said Mr Lee. "It reflects our very good cooperation on defence matters between the US and Singapore, and also the broader cooperation we have in so many other fields, in security, economics, counter-terrorism, and in culture and education as well."

"We are very happy with our relationship, we hope to grow it, and we hope that it will also be a means for the US to deepen its engagement in Southeast Asia and the Asia Pacific region," he added.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said the renewal of the MOU was a "clear affirmation of the mutual commitment to the longstanding Singapore-United States defence relationship. Both sides reaffirmed the good progress of key bilateral defence initiatives, and welcomed Singapore's decision to acquire four F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, with an option for eight more in the future."

MINDEF added that the 1990 MOU is one of several bilateral defence deals with the US. In 2005, Mr Lee and former US president George W Bush inked the 2005 Strategic Framework Agreement for a Closer Cooperation Partnership in Defence and Security (SFA) that recognised Singapore as a Major Security Cooperation Partner of the US.

The enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement in 2015 further deepened cooperation in five areas - namely military, policy, strategic, technology, and non-conventional security challenges. The two countries also agreed to strengthen cooperation in new areas like humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, cyber defence, biosecurity and public communications.

This is the fourth time Mr Lee and Mr Trump have met after their previous meetings at the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore last year, the G20 Summit in Hamburg in 2017, and during Mr Lee's official visit to Washington in 2017.


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