USA, Singapore pledge cybersecurity and supply chain collaboration

Kamala Harris brings message of recommitment to Indo-Pacific amid Afghanistan crisis

The United States and Singapore will cooperate to improve cybersecurity and supply chains in an era defined by the pandemic and climate crisis, said US Vice President Kamala Harris in a joint press conference with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today.

"This pandemic has had a profound impact on economies," said Harris, adding that COVID-19 "exposed what many knew before but [was] highlighted in the pandemic – the vulnerability of our supply chains."

The veep said she was meeting with key business leaders in Singapore tomorrow to discuss potential private and public-sector actions to shore up supply lines. She also said the US and Singapore were launching a dialogue to ensure regional supply chain resiliency.

As for cybersecurity, Harris said the two leaders agreed to expand cybersecurity cooperation to address growing threats, citing financial institutions and defence establishments as examples.

Lee said the security cooperation resulting from Harris's visit ranged "from defence cooperation to intelligence exchange to counter-terrorism activities to cyber security."

During the press conference, Harris reiterated a US commitment to the Indo-Pacific area, of which Southeast Asia forms the core. She turned to this point again when asked to comment on a Chinese narrative that the current situation in Afghanistan means the US is an unreliable long-term partner in the South China Sea area.

"I am standing here in Singapore because of our commitment to a long-standing relationship which is an enduring relationship with the Indo-Pacific region, with Southeast Asian countries, and in particular with Singapore," said the VP.

Harris arrived for her first Southeast Asia visit on Sunday and is scheduled to spend three days in Singapore before heading to tech manufacturing hub Vietnam on Wednesday as the Biden administration establishes post-Trump cooperative contact with the region.

"We value the US renewing its ties with friends and partners here, and especially with Singapore," said PM Lee who referred to cooperation with US as "dynamic" and "flourishing."

The prime minister said there were approximately 5,500 US companies currently in Singapore and called the country the second largest Asian investor in the United States with direct stock investment of $65bn. ®

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