“Singapore sits astride one of the most important geostrategically important locations in the world. It is the economic gateway between East and West,” said United States’ nominee for ambassador to Singapore Kathleen Troia McFarland during her confirmation hearing in the Senate. She emphasised that Singapore’s strategic location is key to her country’s interests in Asia.
She added, “Singapore is also the security gateway between East and West as the entrance to the South China Sea.”
Reflecting on the political situation in the Asian region, McFarland said, “The world’s diplomatic chessboard is being rearranged, with economic growth increasingly coming from Asia, North Korea on the verge of becoming a nuclear weapons state and China building a blue water navy and flexing its military muscles up and down the Asia Pacific.”
She added, “It seeks to disrupt our relationships with many Asian nations as it lures them into China’s orbit. Asia Pacific also faces a serious security issue with terrorism, especially with terrorists fleeing the crumbling Islamic State and moving to the region.
Emphasising the need for strengthening of Singapore-US relations, she said, “With each of these security issues, the strength of the US-Singapore relationship will be instrumental to our success.”
Speaking on the economic relations between the two countries, she observed that the US has a healthy trade surplus of nearly USD20 billion in goods and services with Singapore.
McFarland, said, “215,000 American jobs are supported by our trade with Singapore. US businesses invest over USD180 billion in Singapore, twice as much as we invest in China and five times our investment in India. 4,200 US business are headquartered in Singapore, and more than 30,000 Americans live in the city-state.”
McFarland is set to replace Kirk Wagar, who left Singapore in January upon Mr Trump’s inauguration.
Shedding light on the commonalities between Singapore and US, she said, “We’re both melting pot societies where people of different races, cultures and religions have come together to create a meritocracy, and democracy.
She added, “Our free market economies are innovative, dynamic and entrepreneurial. We’re at the cutting edge of technology and the digital age. Our nations have been beacons of stability and prosperity – and an important example of what can be accomplished through hard work, the rule of law and economic freedom.”
McFarland previously served as US President Trump’s deputy national security adviser. A former national security analyst for the Fox News channel, she also previously served in the national security councils of the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations, and worked at the Department of Defence.