PM Lee Hsien Loong's Opening Remarks During the 5th Singapore-Australia Leaders' Meeting

PM Lee Hsien Loong | 23 March 2020

PM Lee Hsien Loong's Opening Remarks During the 5th Singapore-Australia Leaders' Meeting on 23 March 2020. 

Thank you Prime Minister Scott Morrison. I am very happy we have this chance to meet virtually. We hold a Leaders’ Summit every year and this year was my turn to visit Canberra.

Unfortunately, we have had to put it off because of COVID-19 but I am glad that the pandemic has not stopped us from meeting, and our officials have found a creative solution. We are holding this video conference instead. It shows that in this digital age, government-to-government business can continue despite the adverse circumstances and it also demonstrates our commitment to advance our bilateral cooperation, even as we deal with the pandemic.

In fact, our relations have made substantial progress. This year is the halfway point of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. It has been five years since we have signed the agreement. Today, we will be signing a treaty on Military Training and Training Area Development, which will anchor our defense relationship for the next three decades, at least, and benefit both armed forces. We are also marking the conclusion of negotiations on the Digital Economy Agreement and signing several Memorandums of Understanding on new areas of cooperation like food safety and standards.

I am also looking forward to discussing with you regional and international issues, for example the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been preoccupying both of us and many other countries as well, also longer term issues like sustainability and climate change.

I know these are very much on Australia's minds as they are on ours. So I look forward to a candid and fruitful discussion, as always.

Thank you.
Foreign affairs