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U.S. may deploy three more littoral combat ships in Singapore: ambassador

01-21-2012 12:52 BJT

SINGAPORE, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- The United States Ambassador to Singapore David Adelman has said that his country may "deploy" three more littoral combat ships after the first one, local daily Lianhe Zaobao reported on Saturday.

The first littoral combat ship from the United States, a new type of relatively small surface vessel intended for operations in littoral zone, is expected to arrive in Singapore by the end of this year, Adelman told the newspaper in an interview.

The U.S. plan to permanently station littoral combat ships was first announced in 2011 by former U.S. Defense Robert Gates at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

As for the timeline of the deployment, Adelman said it would depend on the progress in construction.

Adelman said Singapore, as a partner of the United States in regional peace and stability, played a very important role. The plan to deploy the new ships in Singapore waters is in line with the role the United States has played in safeguarding regional stability in the past.

The U.S. ambassador also said the United States would be actually deploying the new types of ships in Singapore -- as the words "station" or "base" would be inaccurate, Lianhe Zaobao said.

There will no sailors permanently stationed in Singapore but there will be facilities for the combat ships, he was quoted as saying.

The United States and Singapore formalized their strategic partnership meetings recently.

Lianhe Zaobao also cited the fact that Adelman was one of the three politically appointed ambassadors in East Asia, the other two being the ambassadors to Japan and China.

It shows the special significance of the relations between Singapore and the United States, it said.

Littoral combat ships are a new type of small multipurpose warships that started to be delivered to the U.S. Navy over the past several years, with the independent class having a length of 127.4 meters and a displacement at full of 2,784 tons.

Observers and countries in the region have closely followed the United States move to deploy littoral combat ships in Singapore, partly due to the small island state's strategic location as a choke point on the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, one of the world's most important routes for the transport of goods on the sea, including oil supplies to East Asia.

Adelman said the United States is a Pacific nation and, whatever the outcome the U.S. presidential election, its current policy on Asia will remain unchanged for quite a period of time.

The concept of the United States returning to Asia was raised before the election of President Barack Obama, he said.

Adelman also said he was confident of the future of the Trans- Pacific Partnership despite the increasingly complicated negotiation process.

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Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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