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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 16, 2006
President Bush and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore Exchange Toasts
8:26 P.M. (Local)
PRIME MINISTER LEE: Your Excellency President George Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush, excellencies and distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: On behalf of the Singapore government, my wife and I warmly welcome President and Laura Bush to Singapore. We remember your last visit in 2003, and are very, very happy to have you here again.
Singapore and the U.S. are close friends and strategic partners. Our relationship is excellent and covers many areas, from trade to defense and counterterrorism. The friendship has endured because it is rooted in shared interests and compatible international perspectives.
Mr. President, we are glad that you have found the time to visit Southeast Asia, and have chosen Singapore to deliver your speech on America's priorities in the region. America continues to play a vital role in Asia's stability and prosperity. You have important interests here that need to be nurtured, amidst your many other commitments worldwide. Singapore looks forward to greater U.S. engagement in this part of the world, and I believe so do many other Southeast Asian countries.
On the security front, Singapore has made common cause with the U.S. in combating the terrorist threat. The fight against terrorism is a long-term ideological struggle. The strength and resolve of the United States, and especially of its Commander-in-Chief, is critical to sustaining this struggle, and prevailing in it. And in you, President Bush, America is fortunate to have a leader with the courage of conviction and the tenacity to press ahead towards your objectives despite all difficulties. Your steadfast leadership has helped anchor this effort to make the world a better and safer place for us all.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I now invite you to join me in a toast to the good health of President and Mrs. Bush and to the enduring friendship between the United States and Singapore.
(A toast is offered.)
PRIME MINISTER LEE: Thank you. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you all. Mr. Prime Minister and Ms. Lee, thank you very much for your gracious hospitality. Laura and I are thrilled to be back here. I'm always amazed when I think about Singapore, a country that wasn't supposed to be; a part of the world where people basically said there's no chance for the good folks to survive and thrive. I'm amazed at your successes, and I appreciate the values on which your successes rest.
I congratulate the people of Singapore for being such a vivid example of enterprise and markets and hard work. I congratulate the government for being visionary in its leadership. And I am thrilled that you allowed me to give a speech at one of your fine universities, talking about the importance of the Far East to the future of the United States.
I thank you very much for serving that meat. (Laughter and applause.) It was so good, it had to be from Texas. (Laughter.)
The Prime Minister and I have had a lot of discussions about a variety of issues, and I shared with them one of my chief concerns, that our country would become -- could possibly become isolationist and protectionist. In my speech today to the university, Mr. Prime Minister, I assured the listeners that it is in our interest to remain engaged in the world. It's in our economic interests and it's in our national interests that the United States work with strong friends and allies such as Singapore to spread prosperity and hope, and to work to lay the foundations for peace.
Mr. Prime Minister, I appreciate your clear vision of the threats that we face. I appreciate the fact that you see the ideological struggle before us. I cannot think of a more steadfast leader in you, and your willingness to make the hard steps necessary to deal with this challenge today so that our children won't have to deal with it in more severe terms tomorrow.
I'm proud to call you friend. Laura and I are proud to be in your presence. May God bless you and your important country. (Applause.)
PRIME MINISTER LEE: Thank you very much.
(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)
END 8:32 P.M. (Local)