Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met United States President Barack Obama after the East Asia Summit yesterday and discussed a wide range of issues, including the need to work together to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and preserve peace and stability in the region.
Mr Obama told reporters after the meeting that he was happy to report that the state of bilateral relations is very strong and that, around the world, people admire the incredible progress that Singapore has made in creating prosperity and opportunity for its people.
"Although Singapore doesn't have a large population, it punches above its weight due to its wise policies and ability to work with all countries," he added.
Mr Obama also thanked Singapore "for being an excellent international partner".
Mr Lee said countries in this region appreciate the US' engagement and participation in the region and its contribution economically, on security issues and in terms of the overall strategic balance.
"What matters most to the countries is to know that this will be maintained.
"The President himself has made six trips to this region, every year, attending the ASEAN meetings. This is greatly appreciated and it's important to know that this will continue beyond November 2016," he said. The US presidential election is scheduled for Nov 8 next year.
Mr Lee said whoever wins the next election, America has interests in this region that are enduring and worthy of attention and focus.
He hopes the US will advance them and continue to be a constructive player in Asia for many years to come.
Get MyPaper for more stories.