Singapore's prime minister: "No quick and easy solution" to North Korea

Last Updated Oct 23, 2017 2:58 PM EDT

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said "there is no quick and easy solution" to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and stressed the importance of the United States' international cooperation in isolating the regime. 

"There is no quick and easy solution," the prime minister said Monday afternoon during a joint statement with President Trump in the White House's Rose Garden. "Pressure is necessary, but so is dialogue. The U.S. will need to work with others including China, South Korea and Japan and Russia to resolve the issue."

Lee emphasized that Singapore has already taken steps to isolate North Korea and said that "defense ties are very strong" between the United States and Singapore.

"We strongly oppose the nuclearization of the Korean peninsula as it affects the peace and stability of the region. And like the U.S., we condemn the DPRK's dangerous provocations. These pose a serious threat to regional and international peace and stability," he said.

Mr. Trump, who began the joint statements, called Singapore one "of our closest strategic partners in Asia," but did not specifically mention North Korea.

"Our common values and interests have lead to a vital security relationship," he said.

Both leaders recognized the import trade partnership shared by their countries, and Mr. Trump remarked that the "friendship has never been stronger" between the United States and Singapore.

Earlier Monday, Mr. Trump welcomed Lee to the Oval Office, where he called the prime minister a "highly respected man."

Following the brief meeting, Mr. Trump met with Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO and President Kevin McAllister and Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong as they signed a contract valued at $13.8 billion and projected to create 70,000 jobs.

"Those are all jobs in this country, right?" the president joked with McAllister.

Live: Trump, Singapore Prime Minister updates below


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong begins his statement

Singapore's Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, began his remarks by praising the United States as an important economic partner for Singapore.

"It's a win-win for both sides," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said of the Boeing-Singapore Airlines contracts signed earlier.

He then mentioned the "close partnership" between the two nations with regard to international security.

"Singapore has leant early and consistent support to the Defeat ISIS Coalition, we were one of the first countries to participate and are still the only Asian country to have contributed both military assets and personnel" he said, adding that this contribution will extend into 2018.

The prime minister said that he and Mr. Trump discussed North Korea during their meetings earlier Monday.

"We strongly oppose the nuclearization of the Korean peninsula," the prime minister said, adding that Singapore opposes the regime's provocations.

The prime minister also commented on the importance of the United State's relationship with China.

"Good U.S.-China relations will benefit the region and the world," he said.

President Trump delivers opening remarks

"Singapore is one of our closest strategic partners in Asia," President Trump said, adding that the "friendship has never been stronger" between the United States and Singapore.

He described the country as a "magnet" for trade and praised the contract signed earlier between Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Singapore Airlines.

"Our common values and interests have lead to a vital security relationship," Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump thanked the prime minister and the people of Singapore for their friendship and mentioned his upcoming trip to Asia. 

 

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    Blair Guild is a politics reporter and video producer for CBS News Digital.