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.
- 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.