Singapore-New Zealand Inaugural Defence Ministers’ Meeting

Defence Ministers Ron Mark and Dr Ng Eng Hen today conducted their second annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Auckland.

This meeting reinforces Singapore and New Zealand’s mutual agreement to enhance defence ties in the face of common security challenges.  Mr Mark noted that this was also his first meeting with a South East Asian counterpart in his capacity as Minister of Defence.

Substantively, their meeting completed the review of the bilateral defence relationship framework and agreed for further cooperation between the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), through Air Force Staff Talks, an Education and Training Working Group, and an Operational Working Group. New Zealand would continue to evaluate the proposal for Singaporean F-15 jets to train at Ohakea Air Force Base.

On behalf of Singapore, Dr Ng expressed his gratitude for SAF training opportunities in NZ and for the NZDF to train together. Mr Mark noted that Singapore is New Zealand’s closest defence partner in South East Asia, and the history of collaboration between the SAF and NZDF demonstrated the warmth, strength and maturity of the relationship.

Dr Ng and Mr Mark acknowledged the longstanding collaboration between Singapore and New Zealand on overseas peace-support missions, including in Timor-Leste, Afghanistan and most recently in Iraq as part of the Defeat-ISIS coalition.

Dr Ng and Mr Mark conducted in depth discussions on the regional security architecture and security issues. They affirmed their ongoing commitment to the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus framework and Five Power Defence Arrangements. Dr Ng expressed support for New Zealand’s co-chairmanship of the ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Group on Cybersecurity with the Philippines.

Mr Mark expressed New Zealand’s support for Singapore’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2018, and was looking forward to attending the Shangri-La Dialogue in June.