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Singapore-US economic ties could suffer

Friday, May 5, 2017

Subject

Singapore-US relations.

Significance

On April 30, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke with US President Donald Trump. For Trump, the call was an initial move to strengthen ties with Washington’s partners in South-east Asia amid the North Korean crisis. Lee accepted an invitation to Washington. For Singapore, the call was about gauging a new, thus far mercurial US administration which, to Singapore’s concern, has expressed protectionist trade sentiments and relatively limited detail about its foreign policy aims in East and South-east Asia.

Impacts

  • The current lack of a US ambassador to Singapore is not unprecedented and will not greatly affect bilateral relations.
  • China-Singapore ties are warmer, but any overly assertive Chinese efforts to gain South-east Asian influence could change this.
  • Singapore will push for a reworked version of the TPP to be devised, with Japanese leadership.
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