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Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman and Singapore’s Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen have held their first bilateral talks in Parliament today.
Dr Ng is in Wellington on his first official visit to New Zealand as Singapore’s Minister for Defence.
During their meeting, Dr Coleman and Dr Ng discussed a wide range of defence and security issues, and reaffirmed the close and longstanding defence relationship between New Zealand and Singapore.
Dr Coleman and Dr Ng noted that good progress had been made in deepening the bilateral defence relationship since the signing of the Arrangement on Defence Cooperation in May 2009.
Dr Coleman and Dr Ng acknowledged the value of the two armed forces exercising together to enhance interoperability and promote greater cooperation.
The Ministers also noted the bilateral relationship was underscored by their cooperation with stabilisation and reconstruction efforts in Bamyan Province in 2007 to 2010 and in counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden from 2010 to 2011.
Dr Ng expressed appreciation for New Zealand’s support of the Singapore Armed Forces’ training in New Zealand.
Dr Coleman and Dr Ng affirmed both countries’ commitment towards multilateral cooperation under the auspices of the Five Power Defence Arrangements and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus.
Both Dr Coleman and Dr Ng expressed strong support for the ADMM-Plus Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Military Medicine exercise to be held in Brunei in 2013, which is a significant initiative to strengthen practical cooperation and build trust and confidence amongst the militaries of the ADMM-Plus members.
Dr Ng also welcomed New Zealand’s strong participation and continued support for strategic and constructive dialogue at informal gatherings such as the Shangri-La Dialogue.
Dr Coleman and Dr Ng expressed confidence that the bilateral defence relationship between New Zealand and Singapore would continue to grow from strength to strength in the future, underpinned by shared interests, strategic perspectives, and the commitment on both sides to regional peace and stability.