A joint statement by both prime ministers, released by Singapore’s foreign ministry, said they agreed that Russia’s actions were a “flagrant violation” of fundamental principles of international law and risked long-term global instability.
They also called on all parties to protect civilians and respect human rights and facilitate unhindered humanitarian aid to the needy in Ukraine.
Ms Ardern said the Ukraine conflict was putting “significant pressure” on the international rule-based order, stressing that disputes should be resolved through dialogue and not “harassment or coercion”.
“We look forward to continuing to work with like-minded countries such as Singapore to support the resolution of such conflicts through peaceful means, including conflicts and issues such as those we also see in Myanmar and our region.”
WILL THE US JOIN THE PACIFIC TRADE PACT AGAIN?
Singapore and New Zealand, along with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam are also part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Agreement.
The Pacific Free Trade Agreement is the successor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which brought together a disparate group of 12 nations around the Pacific Rim, including Singapore and the United States, to work out a more ambitious set of trade rules.
The TPP died in January 2017 when the new Trump administration withdrew from the agreement despite it having already been signed and the 11 remaining nations decided to continue as the CPTPP. Economies like ChinaTaiwan and South Korea have since shown interest in joining the pact.
When asked on Tuesday what Singapore is willing to compromise to get United States to rejoin CPTPPLee said he does not believe the United States is asking for a compromise.
“We would very much love to see them come back, but they have told us quite clearly that it has nothing to do with us. It’s just off the table because their own policy does not make it possible at the moment,” he said. .
“And in the meantime, they want to remain committed to the region in every way that is politically feasible, but which will demonstrate their continued commitment to the Asia-Pacific region and their share here.”
One of these means is the idea of an economic framework in the Indo-Pacific, and Mr Lee said that Singapore and New Zealand support this, “because we believe it is good for you to continue to be present in this region. “.
“And we hope that we will be able to put as much substance as possible on the economic framework of the Indo-Pacific. And I think that is what they are trying to do,” he added.
Ms Ardern reiterated that US domestic considerations mean that the CPTPP “is not the most realistic option” for it.
“That does not mean there is no opportunity. And it is our job to ensure that we continue to engage and offer the opportunities where the United States can demonstrate commitment to the economic architecture and economic well-being of this region,” he said. she said .
DIGITAL ECONOMY PARTNERSHIP
Moving on to other regional agreements, Mr Lee entered into the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) between Singapore, Chile and New Zealand, which was signed in June 2020.
DEPA is a first of its kind agreement establishing new approaches and collaborations on digital trade issues and promoting interoperability between different regimes. China and South Korea has applied to become a member of the DEPA.
Lee said Singapore and New Zealand welcome applications to the DEPA, noting that it is designed to be an open and inclusive “plurilateral” digital agreement.
“We welcome the interest and participation of economies that can commit to all DEPAs and work together in these areas to promote a global digital economy,” he said.
“It’s a pathfinder agreement, so there will be some degree of experimentation with like-minded partners, and I hope hopeful economies can embrace the discipline of investigation and identify projects of common interest.”
Lee said he can not provide a timeline for these new applications, pointing out that it depends on how the discussions proceed and the questions that arise.
“But ideally, of course, you want the new participants to sign everything that is already in the Danish Environmental Protection Agency instead of having to make compromises to expand the participation.”