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Singapore, Aust welcome US presence

AAP logoAAP 13/10/2016

Singapore and Australia agree the United States plays a vital role in the Asia-Pacific region and that needs to continue.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told a joint press conference with Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday the importance of American engagement in the region could not be overstated.

Mr Lee said what was important was the broad strategic direction of the US and its emphasis on the Asia-Pacific as an important part of the world in which it was fully and constructively engaged.

The US presidential election will be held on November 8 at the end of a bitter campaign in which both candidates have opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and one - Republican Donald Trump - says he could walk away from US alliances.

That's raised concerns of a more protectionist and insular US with reduced regional involvement.

Mr Turnbull said the US presence was of vital importance to the region and to Australia and Singapore.

"The presence of the US in our region has underpinned the peace and stability that has been the foundation for the prosperity of the last 40 years," he said.

That had resulted in extraordinary growth perhaps most of all in China, he said.

Mr Turnbull said more than the US military presence, the TPP would be of enormous importance to the region.

"Certainly we see it, both of us, and the region sees it as a profoundly, strategically important commitment," he said.

Mr Lee said the US intention to participate actively and constructively in the region made it a valuable, important partner.

"It is important that we have the TPP which Singapore and Australia are party to and which we hope the US will ratify soon," he said.

Mr Lee said it was important there were good relations between America, China and Japan to enable them to discuss difficult issues in the South China Sea.

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