WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2016 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore affirmed the long-standing security partnership between their countries and discussed issues related to mutual security interests during a meeting at the Pentagon yesterday, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.
In a statement summarizing the meeting, Cook said the topics included cooperation on maritime security and countering violent extremism from terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Carter and Loong also discussed the need for a principled, networked regional security architecture rooted in a shared, enduring interest in regional stability and the rule of law, the press secretary said.
South China Sea
“With regard to the South China Sea, the two reaffirmed the importance of the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law,” Cook said. “The secretary noted the recent, legally binding Law of the Sea Convention Tribunal ruling on the Philippines-China arbitration is an important contribution to addressing disputes peacefully.”
The secretary and prime minister also discussed the importance of the U.S. relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the press secretary said, adding that Carter said he looks forward to Singapore's participation in the upcoming informal U.S.-ASEAN defense meeting in Hawaii, The secretary also expressed appreciation for Singapore's important role in supporting the counter-ISIL coalition, Cook said, and both the secretary and prime minister expressed support for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
Earlier in the day, the two leaders participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.