Singapore PM visits White House

Singapore's prime minister on Tuesday becomes the third Asian leader to visit the White House this year, as President Barack Obama pursues closer ties with countries in the region in his second term.

It will be Lee Hsien Loong's (lee haz-ee-en lahng) first Oval Office meeting in six years and comes as the U.S. pushes for completion by the fall of a trans-Pacific free trade pact. Singapore, a close ally, is one of the 11 countries taking part in the negotiations.

The U.S. and Singapore also have strong defense ties. Next week, the U.S. will begin rotational deployments of Navy vessels in Singapore, part of its efforts to shift American military presence toward the Asia-Pacific as the U.S. disentangles itself from a decade of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.