U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks during a joint press conference with Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong at White House in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, Aug. 2, 2016. At the invitation of U.S. President Barack Obama, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made an official visit to the White House on Tuesday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. (Xinhua/Bao Dandan)
WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- The United States and Singapore on Tuesday affirmed a continued commitment to advancing their strategic partnership, pleading to enhance economic and security cooperation between the two sides.
At the invitation of U.S. President Barack Obama, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made an official visit to the White House on Tuesday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
"For half a century, the two countries have built a strong relationship anchored by robust economic cooperation, security and defense cooperation, and enduring people-to-people ties," said a joint statement issued by the United States and Singapore on Tuesday.
"Singapore's own ties with the United States have remained steadfast through nine U.S. Presidents -- five Republican and four Democratic -- and three Singapore Prime Ministers," Lee said at a ceremony held at the White House.
At a joint press conference held by the two leaders, Lee noted that Singapore is the U.S. largest trading partner in Southeast Asia and the United States is Singapore's largest foreign direct investor.
Over 3,700 U.S. companies are located in Singapore, making Singapore a premier destination for U.S. businesses, said the joint statement, adding that a growing number of Singapore companies have also established a presence in the United States.
In the joint statement, Obama and Lee affirmed efforts to support expanding economic ties between the two countries through closer cooperation on bilateral tax issues, and forged new cooperation on Smart City development and digital innovation.
They also emphasized the importance of all participating countries to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement expeditiously, and both committed to strengthen trade capacity building among TPP members.
The TPP deal involves Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
On security issues, the two leaders reaffirmed the strong bilateral defense partnership, and vowed to broaden cooperation to promote an "open, interoperable, reliable, and secure" global Internet.
The United States deploys aircraft and ships to Singapore on a rotational basis to conduct a variety of regional maritime patrol activities covering counterpiracy, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response.
In addressing regional and global challenges, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment as Counter-IS (Islamic State) coalition members to degrade and defeat the extremist group.
"Singapore was the first country in Southeast Asia to join in the global coalition to destroy ISIL," Obama said at the press conference. "And we are grateful that Singapore is making new contributions to this effort by providing valuable medical support to coalition forces."