US aircraft carrier docks in Singapore for first time since 2019
SINGAPORE – The USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and one of the largest vessels in the United States Navy, docked at Changi Naval Base on Friday (July 22) – the first time a US aircraft carrier has stopped in Singapore since 2019.
The ship is here for a routine port visit for a few days to replenish supplies and allow those on board to take a break on land.
It is the first time in a month that the ship has docked since its last port call in the US island territory of Guam in June.
During brief remarks to reporters on board the ship, Mr Carlos Del Toro, the US Secretary of the Navy, paid tribute to the strong US-Singapore relationship.
“I’m most grateful to Singapore for the long history of friendly relations that we’ve had… so that both our nations can prosper economically, as two free independent democratic nations.”
The USS Ronald Reagan has been deployed to patrol the Asia-Pacific region as part of the US Seventh Fleet’s routine operations in the region since May 21.
A spokesman for the ship declined to reveal how long the USS Ronald Reagan and crew will stay in Singapore, citing operational security reasons.
The Nimitz-class ship, which can carry more than 5,000 personnel and around 100 aircraft, has home-ported in Yokosuka, Japan, since 2015.
Mr Del Toro also said that his purpose for visiting the Republic was twofold: “First, to thank Singapore for hosting rotational US forces like the littoral combat ship, the USS Charleston, but also… to learn about how (Singapore sees) the region and identify the challenges that we can work on together.”
He will also visit Thailand and the Philippines to discuss how to heighten collaboration between the US and both countries.
He added: “Our security alliance with Singapore and with these two nations is ironclad.”
Mr Del Toro was in Hawaii last week to observe this year’s Rim of the Pacific (Rimpac) Exercise, which involved 26 nations.
The USS Ronald Reagan’s port call comes amid ongoing tensions in the South China Sea, which the US regularly patrols to purportedly maintain freedom of navigation, due to disputed territorial claims from several countries and China.