Singapore is a sunny, tropical island in Southeast Asia, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. Singapore is a city, a nation and a state. It is about 275 square miles, smaller than the State of Rhode Island, and inhabited by five million people from four major communities; Chinese (majority), Malay, Indian and Eurasian. Since its independence in 9 August 1965, the country has adopted a parliamentary democracy system. Currently, the government and the cabinet are led by Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong while President Halimah Yacob is the Head of State.
Singapore is known as a City in a Garden and nearly 50 percent of the island is green space. It is a thriving metropolis offering a world-class infrastructure, a fully integrated island-wide transportnetwork, dynamic business environment, vibrant living spaces and a rich culture largely influenced by the four major communities in Singapore with each offering different perspective of life in Singapore in terms of culture, religion, food, language and history.
One of the reasons that Singapore proves to be such an attraction as a home is the ease of living, particularly in terms of residence, transportation and governance system. Over the years, Singapore has made significant strides in many areas and has attracted an encouraging number of international accolades which recognize the city as vibrant and world-class.
So whether it's the arts and cultural exchanges, the creation of cutting-edge innovation to enrich the lives of the communities at home or abroad, or the coming together of world-class minds to spark new business opportunities locally and internationally, Singapore is simply, the place where worlds meet.
Singapore and the United States: Innovators, Partners, Friends
Singapore has been a reliable and steadfast strategic partner of the United States (U.S.), with substantive cooperation across multiple fronts. We are one of America's closest partners in Asia. The partnership is underpinned by mutually beneficial cooperation in the economic, defense, security and people-to-people spheres. Singapore and the U.S. share a robust economic relationship. This is underpinned by the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (USSFTA), which entered into force in 2004. The USSFTA is the first bilateral trade agreement that the U.S. signed with a country in Asia. It is a high-performing Free Trade Agreement that continues to provide benefits to both sides and is a model for how modern trade practices improve business competitiveness and enhance prosperity.
The close and long-standing defense ties are a cornerstone of the Singapore-U.S. bilateral relationship. Under our 2005 Strategic Framework Agreement, the U.S. recognized Singapore as a Major Security Cooperation Partner. Singapore and the U.S. signed a joint Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement in 2015 to identify new areas of cooperation in bio-security, cyber defense, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and strategic communications. The Singapore Armed Forces maintains the largest foreign military contingent in the U.S. Our Air Force's three training detachments in Idaho, Arizona and Texas underscore the high interoperability between the two militaries.
Singapore and the U.S. have strong bonds of friendship and cooperation between its peoples. In 2018, Singapore and the U.S. renewed the "Third Country Training Program" (TCTP), a program which jointly offers technical assistance and capacity building to other countries, particularly in ASEAN. The TCTP has hosted more than 1,000 officials in 40 courses since its establishment in 2012. To celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations, our two countries announced the U.S.-Singapore Summer Exchange Scholarship Programme in 2016. This funds summer exchange programs for 50 Singaporean and 50 U.S. students over the course of five years. It encourages the fostering of linkages and new ideas of cooperation between the next generation of young leaders.
Singapore and the U.S. have mutually extended trusted traveller programs to enhance safety and efficiency of travel between both countries. Singapore citizens can apply for the U.S.' Global Entry program. U.S. citizens are able to apply for Singapore's Enhanced Immigration Automated Clearance System.