Vivian Balakrishnan meets US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, both countries to work on climate change & sustainability

They reaffirmed the "excellent and longstanding ties" between Singapore and the U.S.

Faris Alfiq | September 28, 2021, 12:52 PM

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Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan met with United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a working visit to Washington D.C., according to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Sep. 27.

Both Vivian and Blinken reaffirmed the "excellent and longstanding ties" between the two countries on the 55th anniversary of Singapore-U.S. bilateral relations this year.

Expansion of cooperation

MFA added that both countries noted the robust cooperation across the defence, economic and security spheres, and welcomed the expansion of cooperation in areas such as cybersecurity, supply chain resilience, global growth and innovation, climate change and space.

Image via Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Vivian and Blinken also had substantive discussions on regional and international developments.

Vivian welcomed U.S. commitment to deepen engagement with the Southeast Asian region and Asean, and looked forward to Blinken making a visit to Singapore.

MoU signed to renew Singapore-U.S. Third Country Training Programme

During the working visit, Vivian and Blinken signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to renew the Singapore-U.S. Third Country Training Programme (TCTP).

MFA said the TCTP was established in 2012 following an MoU signed between then-Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs K. Shanmugam and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

It has been renewed twice, in 2015 and 2018.

Image via Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Under the TCTP, over 1,500 participants from Asean member states and Timor Leste have attended programmes conducted by both Singapore and U.S. agencies in areas like humanitarian assistance, public health, smart cities and trade facilitation.

Both countries also agreed to strengthen capacity-building collaboration on climate change and environmental sustainability, through two smart cities programmes announced during U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris' visit to Singapore in August 2021.

"The Singapore-U.S. TCTP is a concrete example of the excellent cooperation between Singapore and the U.S. towards advancing the development agenda of the region," MFA said.

All will be 'affected severely' if there is real trouble between U.S. and China

During a media doorstop after delivering his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Sep. 25, Vivian said that Singapore has reiterated its belief in multilateralism and a rules-based world order.

Responding to questions from the media, Vivian said that "if there is real trouble between the (U.S. and China), we're all going to be affected severely."

"We continue to believe that trade, investments, common standards and level playing fields are the formula for peace and prosperity for the long term, and we hope that even as the superpowers feel their way around each other, that they will still subscribe to this model of multilateralism," he added.

Vivian viewed that it is essential for world leaders to get together, have face-to-face conversations both in private and in public, so as to build reservoirs of trust to facilitate a habit of collectively dealing with common challenges, which include the pandemic, climate change, and the digital divide -- topics which he spoke at length about in his statement.

"The more we can get into a habit of solving problems collectively, instead of causing problems, the better for all of us," he added.

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Top image via Ministry of Foreign Affairs