Singapore, Thailand to strengthen defense ties
Singapore and Thailand plan to strengthen defense cooperation and expand maritime cooperation and counter-terrorism efforts, Singapore’s Ministry of Defense (Mindef) said in a statement Monday.
This came after Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen met Thai premier Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan. Dr Ng, who is on a three-day visit to Thailand, met General Prayut at the Government House in Bangkok on Monday.
“During the call, both sides reiterated the close bilateral relationship, and how both countries could work together in areas of mutual interest, such as maritime security, counter-terrorism and cyber security,” Mindef said. “Gen Prayut also affirmed Thailand’s support for Singapore’s upcoming Asean chairmanship in 2018.”
Singapore assumes the rotating role of heading the 10-nation regional bloc next year.
Earlier Monday, Dr Ng attended the opening ceremony of the Asian Defense and Security Exhibition 2017 at Impact exhibition and convention center just outside the capital, and visited the booths of Thai and Singaporean defense firms.
He held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the exhibition with Gen Prawit, who also holds the post of defense minister.
“Dr Ng congratulated Gen Prawit on the successful organization of (exhibition), and complimented the growing capability of the Thai defense industry,” Mindef said.
They also reaffirmed the excellent bilateral defense ties, and agreed to strengthen defense cooperation, such as through more navy-to-navy interactions, as well as at multilateral forums like the Asean Defense Ministers’ Meeting.
Dr Ng was accompanied by Keith Tan, the deputy secretary (policy) at Mindef, as well as other Mindef and military officials.
Singapore and Thailand have close defense relations. Singapore trains its troops in Thailand, while officers on both sides maintain regular contact through annual exercises like Cobra Gold and Cope Tiger, high-level visits, professional exchanges, and the cross-attendance of courses and seminars.
On Tuesday, Dr Ng will meet Singapore air force personnel training in Thailand before leaving the country.