British FM Ends 3-Nation Southeast Asia Trip in Singapore

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab participates in a meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, Tuesday, Jun. 22, 2021. Photo: Hau Dinh / AP

BANGKOK (AP) — British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab met with business leaders and officials in Singapore on Thursday as he wrapped up a three-nation trip to Southeast Asia aimed at strengthening his country’s ties to the region.

Raab’s trip to Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore is part of a policy “tilt” toward the Indo-Pacific region recommended by a recent British government review of defense and foreign policy in response to China’s growing influence on the world stage.

While in the region he officially launched Britain’s bid to join a trans-Pacific trade bloc, known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and lobbied for “dialogue partnership” status with the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.

In Singapore, he met with his counterpart, Vivian Balakrishnan, to discuss both of those initiatives, Raab said on Twitter.

The two also talked about a “shared approach towards addressing regional priorities such as climate change, Myanmar, travel and recovery from COVID-19,” he wrote.

Before his talks with the foreign minister, Raab took part in a meeting with British and Singaporean business representatives, discussing “supply chain digitalization,” which he said could save 4 billion paper documents globally per year.

The trip was Raab’s fifth visit to Southeast Asia as foreign secretary.