The U.S. and Singapore held their first strategic partners dialogue in Washington in January. In an email interview, See Seng Tan, the deputy director of the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, discussed the strategic relationship between the U.S. and Singapore.
WPR: What motivated the recent push to step up bilateral ties?
See Seng Tan: The most significant recent development in bilateral ties are the negotiations between the U.S. and Singapore to allow the U.S. Navy to base a number of littoral combat ships in Singapore. The move has been seen, especially by China, as an indication of U.S. readiness to intervene in territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Although Singapore is not a party to those disputes, the South China Sea is a vital commercial lifeline for Southeast Asia’s economies, and Singapore shares America’s interest in preserving freedom of navigation in regional waters.