27 July 2013, Saturday, Singapore – Alfa Tech’s Managing Director, Zach Wilson, and Business Development Director, Thanneermalai Lakshmanan, were among the invited guests to an address by US Vice President Joe Biden at Pratt Whitney Singapore to business executives. All guests were treated to a sumptuous buffet at the Pratt & Whitney cafeteria where everyone had the opportunity to network while waiting for the arrival of Vice President Biden.
Upon arrival, Vice President Biden toured the Pratt & Whitney facility and the proceeded into a converted hangar for his address.
Vice President Biden reiterated the importance of economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region and the need to manage tensions in the South China Sea. He stated that the United States will remain a Pacific power as he credited his country with maintaining peace and stability in the region for decades.
He hopes there will be progress on the discussions on the Code of Conduct for the claimant states in the South China Sea, and that it will come in time for the East Asia Summit in October later this year in Brunei.
Biden recalled that when President Barack Obama took office, the American economy was in the midst of a downturn but things have improved now. He said: “40 straight months of job growth. We have gone from losing over 800, 000 jobs a month when we were sworn in to creating an average of 200, 000 jobs a month in 2013.” The vice president added that political will is necessary to achieve this.
Biden also shared with the audience his meeting with former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew on Friday at the Istana. Biden said: “He (Mr Lee) said what the rest of the world is trying to do is to try and figure out what that black box is in America that allows you to re-invent yourself constantly.”
“It is clear what it is — think differently. That is why the United States is working with partners like Singapore to make a global trading system of the 21st century more competitive and fair.”
Biden also spoke of the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is being discussed amongst several countries including US and Singapore. He said the agreement will play an important role in spurring economic growth in this region and he hopes that the countries can reach an agreement by the end of this year.Biden also noted that the Pacific is home to some of the busiest sea lanes and faces the danger of becoming fault lines for future conflicts. He said: “The increasing maritime actions and assertive actions we have seen in the South China Sea represent a threat to the security of the Asia-Pacific region… President (Obama) and I are concerned by what we are seeing. We are concerned that tensions are growing, not declining.”
However, the vice president also said that while the US welcomes ASEAN’s efforts to advance talks on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, he noted that “we can’t be in a position year after year of merely talking a Code of Conduct while tensions continue to increase”.
Biden added: “Delay only raises risks. As we look ahead to the East Asia Summit this year, all parties involved should be looking for a way to move quickly towards a substantive code. The United States has a deep stake in these issues — we are and we will remain a resident Pacific power’
After his address, VP Biden then departed for his next engagement and flew to Hawaii later in the evening.