SINGAPORE -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld arrived here June 3 for a series of meetings with Singapore officials and with representatives of other U.S. Pacific-region allies.
The secretary also plans to hold a town meeting on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Essex after presiding over a re-enlistment ceremony for sailors and Marines assigned to the USS Essex Expeditionary Strike Group.
Rumsfeld arrived in Singapore aboard the U.S. Strategic Command's E-4B National Airborne Command Center after a nearly 22-hour nonstop flight from Washington.
The facilities aboard the aircraft, he explained, enabled him to conduct much of his normal business during the long flight.
In addition to meeting with Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Defense Minister Tony Tan Keng Yam, Rumsfeld will meet with representatives of several Pacific allies, including Japan, Australia and South Korea.
During a news conference en route to Singapore, Rumsfeld told reporters the
United States enjoys "very close relationships" with the nations whose representatives he will be meeting here. "They are multifaceted relationships," he said. "They're obviously political and economic, but they're also in-depth security relationships, and in each case we do many things with those countries."
In some cases, he explained, the countries are involved in Iraq, Afghanistan or both. Missile defense, training activities and intelligence sharing also are areas in which some of the countries work with the United States, and all, he said, are involved in the global war on terror.
"We try to meet fairly frequently with those countries," he said, "because of the closeness of the relationship and the importance of the relationship."
Rumsfeld told reporters he has no plans to ask any countries for more help in
Iraq or Afghanistan while he's here. "We've asked the world to assist Iraq and
Afghanistan, and a very large number of countries have stepped up and agreed to do that," he said, with troops, training for police and military forces, maritime interdiction activities or humanitarian assistance.
"My feeling is that each country ought to do what it's comfortable doing," Rumsfeld said. "They know our interest in having a lot of nations invest themselves in the success in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and I don't think we need to go in and say, 'Would you please do this, that or the other thing?' They're all cooperating."