US Senate confirms Biden nominee Jonathan Kaplan as ambassador to S'pore

WASHINGTON – The United States Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s pick for ambassador to Singapore, technology entrepreneur Jonathan Kaplan, on Friday (Nov 19).

Mr Kaplan was confirmed by the Senate by voice vote, a procedure in which the tally of votes and how each senator voted are not recorded.

He is the founder of the company Pure Digital Technologies and co-founder of EducationSuperHighway, a non-profit group that brings high-speed Internet to public schools.

At his confirmation hearing on Oct 20, Mr Kaplan told senators that he planned to strengthen trade and security ties between Singapore and the US, and work closely with Singapore to tackle the climate crisis.

“If confirmed, I plan to strengthen our bilateral trade relationship and advance an economic agenda that promotes a shared prosperity, further secure our economic resiliency and access to supplies, and work closely with Singapore to tackle the climate crisis,” Mr Kaplan, who is in his early 50s, said at the hearing.

Senators at the hearing were hopeful that the filling of the ambassador position could help the US deepen its diplomatic and economic engagement with the region, as competition with China heats up.

The post has been empty for almost five years. Previous ambassador Kirk Wagar, who was appointed by Democratic president Barack Obama, left his post in January 2017 following Republican president Donald Trump’s inauguration.

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