Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is visiting President Joe Biden at the White House to highlight a strategic relationship that administration officials hope will pay dividends as Biden faces challenges in both hemispheres.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden and Lee would discuss several issues when they meet Tuesday, including the war in Ukraine and “freedom of the seas,” a key issue in a region where Beijing has made territorial claims over most of the South China Sea.
Singapore is a rare Southeast Asian nation to impose sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions include restrictions on some exports and a ban on financial institutions from doing business with Russian banks.
At the same time, Biden has sought to deepen ties in Asia as a counterweight to China's growing influence. The Democratic president originally was scheduled to host several national leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this week, but the summit was postponed.
Vice President Kamala Harris visited Singapore in August, announcing agreements involving cybersecurity, climate change and supply chain issues.