Toast speech by PM Lee Hsien Loong at the official dinner in honour of His Excellency Olaf Scholz, Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany on 14 November 2022.
Your Excellency Herr Olaf Scholz, Federal Chancellor
Ladies and gentlemen
Guten Abend and a very warm welcome to Chancellor Scholz and his delegation. I am delighted to host the Chancellor in Singapore before we both head to Bali for the G20 Summit in a couple of hours time.
We first met six years ago when the Chancellor visited Singapore for the World Cities Summit as First Mayor of Hamburg. We met again most recently on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Rome last year.
Much has happened since then. Our countries are emerging from COVID-19. The situation has stabilised, and we are learning to live with the virus. The pandemic has brought our two countries and peoples closer together.
At a time when many travel restrictions had been imposed, we opened special travel lanes between our two countries. We allowed Germans living in Singapore to reunite with families and friends back home, and vice versa, for Singaporeans living in Germany. We also enabled business travel to continue, especially for the 2,100 German businesses in Singapore. It shows the high level of trust between our countries.
The good relations between Singapore and Germany were built over many years of people-to-people ties and political engagement. Mr Helmut Schmidt also from Hamburg was a very good friend of Singapore, and of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Herr Schmidt was the first Chancellor to visit Singapore after our independence, and laid the groundwork for our bilateral ties to blossom. He also championed a free global economic order. He sought to improve economic ties between the European Economic Community (now the European Union) and Southeast Asia. Mr Schmidt’s views remain highly relevant today.
Amidst the many global challenges, now more than ever, countries have to work together to uphold the principles of free and open trade, multilateralism, and a rules-based international order.
I am glad that Germany has remained a steadfast supporter of ASEAN and the region. The Chancellor’s visit testifies to this.
The Joint Declaration and the Germany-Singapore Framework for Sustainability and Innovation (GSFSI), both announced on this visit, will grow our relations further.
I also welcome the distinguished business delegation accompanying Chancellor Scholz. They represent some of the top companies in Germany, playing leading roles in their respective industries. Many have long established operations in Singapore and are expanding in the region.
We are particularly pleased that Germany decided to host its flagship 17th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business (APK) here. It is an affirmation of Singapore’s position as a regional hub and gateway to the Asia-Pacific.
Ladies and gentlemen
I am confident that our two countries will continue to build upon our strong bonds of friendship and cooperation, and that Germany will remain a strong and steadfast partner in the Asia-Pacific for many years to come.
May I now invite you all to join me in a toast to the good health and happiness of Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Olaf Scholz and his delegation, the continued peace and prosperity of Germany; and the enduring friendship between Singapore and Germany.
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