Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Lee-Trump visit underscores Singapore’s balancing act

At the same time as he has been trying to repair relations with China, Singapore's PM has tried to reaffirm bilateral cooperation with the US

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong held talks with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office this week to reaffirm bilateral cooperation amid considerable anxieties about US commitments to free-trade multilateralism and long-standing alliances across Asia.

Lee, the fourth Southeast Asian leader to visit the White House, is on a six-day working visit to Washington at the invitation of the president. Both countries share a “deep and multi-faceted relationship” based on a “basic strategic congruence of views about the world and the region,” Lee said during a television interview with CNBC.

The US administration’s emphasis on creating job opportunities for Americans has not been lost on the Singaporean delegation, nor the other Southeast Asian leaders who have visited Washington under Trump’s tenure.

The two leaders oversaw a deal between Singapore Airlines and Boeing for the national carrier to buy 39 new planes, worth US$13.8 billion. Fulfilling that order will create 70,000 jobs in the US, according to Trump, who said the US-Singapore relationship was “now is at its highest point” and that his country was “fortunate to have such a wonderful and loyal partner”.

Read the full story at the Asia Times.

Nile Bowie is a writer and journalist with the Asia Times covering current affairs in Singapore and Malaysia. He can be reached at