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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09SINGAPORE1073 2009-11-04 06:25:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Singapore
Cable title:  

SCENESETTER FOR SECRETARY CLINTON'S SINGAPORE VISIT

Tags:   PREL ECON MARR OVIP CLINTON HILLARY SN ASEAN 
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FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7396
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHZU/ASIAN PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 SINGAPORE 001073 

SIPDIS

FOR THE SECRETARY FROM THE CHARGE D'AFFAIRES
STATE PLEASE PASS TO USTR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/04/2029
TAGS: PREL ECON MARR OVIP CLINTON HILLARY SN ASEAN
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR SECRETARY CLINTON'S SINGAPORE VISIT

REF: SINGAPORE 1057

Classified By: CDA Daniel Shields for Reasons 1.4 (b/d)



1. (C) Madam Secretary, the message you delivered in
Thailand in July that "the United States is back in Southeast
Asia" is resonating here in Singapore. Your upcoming visit
presents a precious opportunity to consolidate and build upon
the gains that your early and intense focus on Asia as
Secretary of State has already produced. As we at Embassy
Singapore prepare for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC) meetings and APEC-related visits by the President
(reftel), by you, and by other top U.S. Government officials,
it seems increasingly clear that a new regional architecture
is emerging; this is just a matter of time. The key point is
whether the United States is going to be inside the process
shaping it or outside the process looking in. Your words and
actions leave no doubt that you stand on the side of U.S.
engagement with Asia. This, as you heard from Minister
Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in Washington, is also what Singapore
wants.



2. (C) Singapore, a city-state with a total population
(including foreigners) of only about 5 million people, is not
a natural leader in Southeast Asia. Its larger neighbors
often resent overachieving Singapore's prosperity and its
annoying penchant for telling others what to do. Still,
Singapore lies at the center of Asia in ways that matter to
the United States. In 1819, when Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles
first arrived in Singapore, he was struck by the very factor
that makes Singapore unique to this day: its strategic
location at the southern end of the Straits of Malacca, the
main maritime trade route between China and India. Over the
years, Singapore has built on this geographic advantage --
plus governmental, educational, logistical, financial, and
other institutions designed to exploit the advantage -- to
turn Singapore into one of the most reliable and efficient
places in the world to move people, goods, and money.



3. (C) This is what makes Singapore so critical to the
United States from a political-military perspective. When
the former U.S. bases in the Philippines were closed in the
1990s, Singapore stepped in, making its facilities available
to the U.S. military. Under the U.S.-Singapore Strategic
Framework Agreement of 2005, the United States makes use of
Singapore's facilities at Sembawang to provide logistics and
repair services for the whole Western Pacific Fleet. At
Changi Naval Base, U.S. aircraft carriers can and do
routinely pull up pierside, something that is not feasible
elsewhere in Southeast Asia. The United States uses
Singapore's Paya Lebar Air Base, where your aircraft will
land, to move aircraft all around the region. Singapore
procures advanced weapons systems from the United States and
deploys about 1,000 personnel in the United States to train,
particularly in the use of U.S.-produced aircraft and
helicopters. Singapore backed the United States in Iraq and
is supporting the International Security Assistance Force in
Afghanistan with medical and construction engineering teams.
Singapore is about to take over the leadership of anti-piracy
Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 off the coast of Somalia. All
that said, the core political-military interest for the
United States in our relationship with Singapore continues to
be the access that U.S. forces enjoy to facilities in
Singapore.



4. (C) Singapore's competitiveness as a place to move
people, goods, and money makes it attractive not only to the
United States, but also to those who threaten U.S. national
security, including terrorists, weapons proliferators and
criminals. Singapore cooperates effectively with us to
prevent such individuals from using Singapore to achieve
their goals. When we can present unambiguous evidence and
clear international legal authorities, especially UN Security
Council Resolutions, Singapore is fully cooperative. When
the evidence is less clear, or the international legal
authorities more ambiguous, Singapore's cooperation takes on
more of a case-by-case quality, with the Singaporeans
weighing their desire to cooperate with the United States
against competing desires to keep Singapore's port and
financial sector operating smoothly and predictably, with as
few delays and disruptions as possible.


SINGAPORE 00001073 002 OF 003




5. (C) Singapore's strengths as an economic clearinghouse
for goods and financial services have made it a valuable
economic partner for the United States. U.S. corporations
understand this; there are an estimated 1,500 U.S. companies
here. The stock of U.S. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in
Singapore is massive, exceeding the $100 billion level, well
above the levels of U.S. FDI in giant economies such as China
and Japan. Singapore is a long-time master of the game ofatracting international FDI and the tough intellectual
property rights (IPR) protections that Singapore agreed to in
the 2004 U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement have made
Singapore even more attractive as a destination for FDI,
especially in IPR-sensitive industries such as the
pharmaceutical sector. On the trade side, Singapore is our
12th largest export market and we enjoy one of our largest
trade surpluses in the world with Singapore. Singapore's
trade-dependent economy took a hard hit from the global
economic downturn, but has bounced back quickly.



6. (C) Singapore's history suggests that for the city-state
to thrive, there has to be a kind of balance around it.
Originally, Singapore flourished on the trade between India
and China; Singapore could not have succeeded if only India
were important or only China. Singapore therefore does not
want to see one dominant power emerge in the region in a
manner that might restrict the Singaporeans' cherished
freedom of maneuver. This consideration underlies
Singapore's consistent interest in keeping the United States
engaged in the region, which will be an implicit subtext of
the APEC meetings. It was more explicitly part of the agenda
when Minister Mentor (MM) Lee Kuan Yew made his recent visit
to Washington. You had the opportunity to hear directly from
MM Lee, who at 86 remains hugely influential in shaping
Singapore's response to the big decisions it faces. From an
Embassy Singapore perspective, MM Lee's key public statements
during the Washington trip were as follows.

--"It would be a serious mistake for the region to define
East Asia in closed, or worse, in racial terms."

--"Growth has created growing strategic complexity between
China, Japan, South Korea, India, ASEAN and Australia. Each
will position itself to achieve maximum security, stability
and influence."

--"The size of China makes it impossible for the rest of
Asia, including Japan and India, to match it in weight and
capacity in about 20 to 30 years. So we need America to
strike a balance."

--"If the U.S. does not recognize that the Asia-Pacific is
where the economic center of action will be and it loses that
economic superiority or lead that it has in the Pacific, it
will lose it worldwide."



7. (C) MM Lee and his fellow Singaporean leaders, including
PM Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Minister George Yeo, are
acutely focused on the opportunities associated with the rise
of China. They see outward-looking, open, regional
integration efforts as critical to exploiting these
opportunities and they very much want us engaged as the
process unfolds. An implication of this is that Singapore
wants APEC, where the United States is already at the table,
to succeed. Singapore is committed as this year's APEC host
to laying a groundwork for progress in Japan's APEC year of
2010 and the U.S. APEC year of 2011. Beyond APEC, Singapore
will be looking to America to continue to inject more
substance into the process of U.S. re-engagement in the
region. The U.S.-ASEAN Summit that will take place in
Singapore is a powerful start. Efforts to expand cooperation
on trade with like-minded countries in the region will also
send an important signal.



8. (C) Madam Secretary, all of us at Embassy Singapore
eagerly anticipate your visit. Many of the positive
processes that you have already put in motion -- by making
your first visit as Secretary of State to Asia, including
Southeast Asia; by participating in the ASEAN Regional Forum
in Thailand; by acceding to the Treaty of Amity and
Cooperation in Southeast Asia; by stepping up cooperation
with the Lower Mekong countries; and by ensuring that the
Burma policy review enabled us to engage while maintaining

SINGAPORE 00001073 003 OF 003


sanctions -- have created a context in which the APEC
meetings in Singapore and the U.S.-ASEAN Summit here can
succeed. We look forward to helping you ensure the success
of your Singapore visit and to working with you, your
Washington team, and our Singaporean partners to continue to
increase and sustain U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific
region.

SHIELDS

Visit Embassy Singapore's Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/singapore/ind ex.cfm