U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is meeting with several of his Asian counterparts Friday in Singapore, ahead of the start of the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference.
After meeting with Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, the two issued a joint statement praising what they called their two countries' excellent and longstanding bilateral defense relationship.
Ng also joined Gates in voicing support for Washington's continued engagement in the region and for its cooperation in addressing transnational security threats and enhancing regional security.
This is Gates' fifth and final Asia Security Summit as U.S. defense secretary.
He is also scheduled to meet with his Chinese counterpart, General Liang Guanglie, Japan's defense minister and Malaysia's prime minister.
Delegates from 27 countries are attending the security conference which runs through Sunday.