Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen met United States (US) Secretary of Defense James Mattis over breakfast this morning on the sidelines of the 16th Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD). This is Secretary Mattis' inaugural visit to Southeast Asia as the US Secretary of Defense.

During the meeting, both sides reaffirmed the excellent and long-standing bilateral defence relationship between Singapore and the US. Both sides also discussed a range of security issues, and areas for cooperation to foster regional stability. In that regard, they reaffirmed the significance of the 2015 enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement, which deepened bilateral cooperation in non-conventional security areas such as maritime security, cyber security and biosecurity.

Dr Ng and Secretary Mattis also acknowledged the importance of the US' continued presence in the Asia-Pacific in ensuring peace and stability. They also exchanged views on the threat of extremism and terrorism in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Sulu Sea and the Southern Philippines.

Secretary Mattis, who is visiting Singapore to attend the SLD, also called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana yesterday afternoon. He is joined by a delegation of senior US officials, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford and Commander of the US Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harris. A congressional delegation, led by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Representative Mac Thornberry, is also attending the SLD.