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Singapore leader Lee to meet US President Bush, VP Cheney

Singapore leader Lee to meet US President Bush, VP Cheney

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will meet with U.S. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney when he visits Washington and San Francisco this week, officials said Wednesday.
Singapore, a wealthy, tightly controlled city-state, is one of Washington's closest friends in Southeast Asia. It has a significant, moderate Muslim minority, and is a stalwart helper in U.S. anti-terror efforts and an active trade partner.
Lee told the Wall Street Journal newspaper earlier this month that the U.S. is not paying enough attention to Southeast Asia because it is distracted by problems elsewhere.
He said this could result in the U.S. losing its regional influence to a rising China, and potentially weakening anti-terrorism cooperation within Asia.
Lee, set to leave Wednesday for the weeklong visit, will be accompanied by Foreign Minister George Yeo and other Singapore officials.
In addition to Bush and Cheney, they will meet with U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, said a statement from Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Lee will speak at a dinner commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the statement said.
In San Francisco, the Singapore delegation will meet with private sector leaders in energy, electronics, information technology and media, it said.
The two countries have had a free trade agreement in effect since Jan. 1, 2004.
Bush spent a day in Singapore in November on his way to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam.
He had met then with Lee, who often has advised the American president on how to improve the United States' image, especially in the Muslim world.
The Singapore leader last visited the U.S. in 2005, the ministry statement said.


Updated : 2021-04-18 11:47 GMT+08:00