The Honourable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
On behalf of the President of the Republic of Singapore, His Excellency Tony Tan Keng Yam, I present to you the Letter of Credence proposing my appointment as the next Ambassador of Singapore to the United States of America. May I also present the Letter of Recall for my predecessor, Ambassador Chan Heng Chee.
I arrive in the United States at a critical juncture for our relationship and our wider engagement which is being driven by global transformational change. Asia, with its strong economic performance and dynamic population has re-emerged, with Southeast Asia and ASEAN being among the principal drivers of the region’s economic growth and integration efforts. As the leading global power, the United States has stepped up its engagement in Asia and is seen to continue to play a crucial role in the region’s peace and stability as well as economic prosperity. The United States remains indispensable, with its wide network of Asian strategic allies, partners and friends, and we welcome its continued engagement with the overlapping regional institutions and free trade agreements.
The renewed attention on Asia under your Administration is thus important and timely. It has given a boost to the interests of the United States in the region. Singapore has consistently advocated a strong American presence, and we encouraged and are encouraged by your Administration’s comprehensive engagement of the region. We share close regional cooperation through ASEAN, as well as at the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus, the East Asia Summit, and APEC. Singapore and the United States also work closely through our Third Country Training Programme to bridge the developmental gap in ASEAN, especially for the Lower Mekong countries. Having served in key regional capitals, I hope to draw on my experience in working with your Administration in its forward-looking Asian engagement policy.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership will be instrumental in that regard. Singapore shares the vision of the United States that the Trans-Pacific Partnership can serve as a building block and potential pathway to a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific. We also seek a high quality Trans-Pacific Partnership that will raise the quality of trade liberalisation across the Asia Pacific, while integrating key economies across the region.
Bilaterally, I look forward to further building on the enduring and robust economic, defence, and political ties between the United States and Singapore. Our bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA) have provided the firm foundations for our continued close cooperation. Notwithstanding the uncertain global economic climate, Singapore is the United States’ 15th largest trading partner, and provides the best returns for American companies investing in the Asia Pacific region. Singapore companies have also invested in the United States and helped to create jobs in several states. Our longstanding defence links will see another milestone with the upcoming rotational deployment of your Littoral Combat Ships to Singapore.
With your support, Mr President, I hope to work closely with your Administration to further deepen the close economic ties between our countries and broaden our cooperation in areas of mutual interest. I shall also endeavour to enhance the excellent political ties between the United States and Singapore. The continued cultivation of strong ties between our leaders on both sides will provide the surest assurance that our bilateral strategic partnership will continue to overcome present and future challenges.
Mr President, the enduring partnership between the United States and Singapore is a powerful symbol of how two very different countries, separated yet connected by the Pacific, can nevertheless forge a common purpose and interest towards a shared future. It is my sincere desire that my tenure as Ambassador of Singapore to the United States will be conducive to your Administration’s efforts to enhance relations between our two countries and the region.
ASHOK KUMAR MIRPURI