Singapore would still sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with the remaining 11 members, even with the withdrawal of the United States, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the BBC’s HARDtalk programme, which was broadcast on Wednesday. He said however that he was “not sure” if such a deal would ever be reached.

“The Japanese in particular made very painful concessions in exchange for American concessions,” PM Lee said. “And if you have a deal in which the Japanese have these concessions and the Americans are not party, I think that the political balance and economic balance have shifted.

“So I would not rule it out, but I think it is not so easy to achieve.”

Adding that Asian governments were disappointed that this happened, he added that he hopes that as Donald Trump and his administration settles in, they will “fine-tune their views, deepen their appreciation of what is happening in the world and over time reach a more balanced appreciation of what all this involves”.

Lee said that the current Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State know Asia well enough and would not be “unfamiliar with Asia or with its significance.”

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