Singapore Prime Minister’s US Visit: What’s On The Agenda?

A closer look at the details of Lee Hsien Loong’s visit to the United States this week.

Singapore Prime Minister’s US Visit: What’s On The Agenda?
Credit: White House Photo

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is visiting the United States as the two countries commemorate the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. This is the first official visit by a Singapore Prime Minister to the United States since 1985.

I’ve got a piece out examining the significance of the visit for the advancement of the U.S.-Singapore strategic partnership (See: “Advancing the US-Singapore Strategic Partnership”). As I note in the piece, this visit is as much an acknowledgement of the importance of Singapore as an indispensable U.S. partner as it is about strengthening ties even further.

Deliverables are expected to span a wide range of areas including economics, security and people to people ties. Regional and global issues will also inform the various meetings, from the South China Sea to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which Singapore is a member.

On July 30, the Prime Minister’s Office also publicly released a statement with the full details of Lee’s visit, which kicked off today will last until August 5.

According to the statement, Lee will begin his visit with an official arrival ceremony at the White House South Lawn followed by a meeting in the Oval Office. U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will then host Lee and his wife to a State Dinner at the White House. Singapore will be just the fifth Asian country to be granted such an honor in the Obama White House, with the others being China, India and Japan and South Korea.

Lee will also meet several other U.S. officials during his visit. He will be hosted to a State Luncheon at the State Department with Vice President Joseph Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as lunch by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter. He will also have separate meetings with Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan.

Lee’s visit will also include a few other engagements. For instance, he will speak at a reception jointly hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce and the US-ASEAN Business Council. He also met with Singaporeans at a National Day reception at the Singapore Embassy in Washington, DC to kick off his visit ahead of official engagements.

Lee’s delegation includes Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing, and Senior Minister of State for Defense Ong Ye Kung.