March 29 (UPI) — President Joe Biden met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday to reassure the leader that the Indo-Pacific region remains a priority despite the focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The White House said the Oval Office meeting was part of the administration’s show of support for the region in the face of a growing threat from China at a time when much of the United States’ concentration appears to be on Russia.
“The United States and Singapore recognize that threats to the U.N. Charter and rules-based international order anywhere, including Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, place peace and prosperity everywhere at risk,” Biden and Lee said in a joint statement released by the White House.
“The war in Ukraine has a negative impact on the Indo-Pacific region, which already faces many complex challenges. Taken together, the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century demand deeper cooperation between us.”
Lee said he welcomed an invitation by Biden to host a special Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Washington, D.C., to further strengthen the relationship between the United States and the region.
“The United States seeks cooperation with all partners who share our objectives in the Indo-Pacific region,” the joint statement said. “We also welcome the enhanced engagement of European and regional partners in Southeast Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region.”
Biden and Lee also renewed their call for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of permanent peace there. North Korea has continued to test weapons in the region.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday warned that his country is developing “overwhelming military power that cannot be stopped,” before conducting its largest-ever test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.