Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Halimah Yacob have offered congratulations to United States President Joe Biden on his inauguration on Wednesday (20 January),
Mr Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the US, along with Vice President Kamala Harris – the first woman to hold that role – before noon at the US Capitol yesterday.
In a letter to President Biden, Mr Lee wrote that the new President took office “at a time when many pressing challenges confront” the US and the rest of the world.
He pointed out that many countries, including in the US, are experiencing recurrent waves of the COVID-19 pandemic and suffering “severe damage to their economies and people’s livelihoods”.
“Strong American leadership will make a decisive difference to our collective recovery and the shape of the post-COVID-19 world,” he wrote.
Mr Lee said Singapore has been “a longstanding strategic, defence and economic partner” of the US, with their “excellent bilateral relations” underpinned by the 2005 Strategic Framework Agreement and 2004 US-Singapore FTA.
He added that both sides have steadily broadened cooperation into new areas, such as digital economy, data connectivity, cybersecurity, as well as infrastructure financing.
“You can continue to rely on Singapore as a consistent and reliable friend and partner, as we advance our countries’ shared interests and deal with common challenges,” said Mr Lee.
The Prime Minister also noted that there is “a deep reservoir of goodwill for the US” in the region due to “the vital role the US has played anchoring regional stability and economic prosperity for over half a century”.
“I look forward to working with you to strengthen America’s engagement of Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),” he said.
Madam Halimah, in her letter, said Mr Biden’s “decades of experience in public office will provide a stable, guiding hand” to both the US and the international community as the world grapples with the “tremendous challenges” due to the COVID-19.
“Singapore and the United States share a long, enduring friendship. Bilateral relations between our two countries have continued to flourish over the years,” she wrote.
Apart from the partnerships that span the defence and security, economic and people-to-people spheres, Madam Halimah noted that both militaries share strong synergies, train together and participate in regular military-to-military exchanges.
“Since 1990, Singapore has hosted United States aircraft and ships on rotational deployments.
“The close economic relationship, built on the 2004 United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, has grown from strength to strength, and expanded into new areas such as digital trade and infrastructure development,” she added.
Madam Halimah also recalled her meeting with Mr Biden during the latter’s visit to Singapore in 2013, hoping to welcome him and his family back to Singapore again.