Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s series of high-profile meetings during a week-long visit to the US shows Washington’s intention to continue with its focus on the Indo-Pacific even as it is preoccupied with developments in Europe, analysts said.
It also cast the spotlight on the strength of US-Singapore ties, with Lee travelling to Washington during a time originally meant for a US-Asean special summit. The US scheduled it for March 28 and 29 but the meeting was postponed after several Southeast Asian leaders were unable to travel on those dates, according to media reports.
Jacob Stokes, an Indo-Pacific Security Programme fellow at the Washington-based Centre for a New American Security think tank said Singapore “is a key node in its own right given its strategic geography, and it is also a bellwether state for Southeast Asia writ large.” Stokes said the administration had made a special effort to reach out to countries that are eager to deepen ties.
“It is more effective to enhance friendships with countries that want to work together rather than expending the same resources trying to convince ambivalent states to collaborate,” Stokes added.
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