Toast Speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Official Dinner Hosted by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on 28 August 2023. PM Lee was on an official visit to Hanoi, Vietnam from 27 to 29 August 2023.
Your Excellency Pham Minh Chinh, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Madam Le Thi Bich Tran
Ladies and gentlemen
I thank Prime Minister Chinh for his very warm welcome to Hanoi. I am happy to be here again. My last visit was in 2018 to attend the World Economic Forum on ASEAN.I am very glad to reciprocate Prime Minister Chinh’s visit to Singapore in February, and continue our conversation at the ASEAN Summit more recently in May
This year marks 50 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries. It is also the tenth anniversary of our Strategic Partnership. Through the decades, we have built strong political trust. Former Prime Ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong enjoyed longstanding friendships with their counterparts Vo Van Kiet and Phan Van Khai. Their tenures saw Vietnam’s economy flourish under the Doi Moi reforms, Vietnam’s accession to ASEAN, and the first Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP). That we now have more than a dozen VSIPs across North, Central and South Vietnam speaks to the growth and vibrancy of our ties.
I have had the privilege of continuing this close cooperation. Having worked with several Vietnamese Prime Ministers to establish and strengthen our Strategic Partnership. This February, we also concluded the Green-Digital Economic Partnership. Which has paved the way for important projects in carbon credits and renewable energy.
I was happy to reconnect with old friends this afternoon. I hosted General Secretary Trong in Singapore in 2012. He was accompanied by then-Finance Minister Hue, who is now Chairman of the National Assembly. I also recall meeting President Thuong about 10 years ago, when I attended a VSIP ground-breaking ceremony in Quang Ngai province, where he was then the Provincial Party Secretary
Through the years I have watched the Vietnamese leaders work tirelessly alongside their people, who are among the most energetic and talented in Southeast Asia. I look forward to meeting some of the young people tomorrow at the Vietnam National University and also at the Singapore Vietnam Youth Leaders Exchange Programme. Singaporeans have much to learn from Vietnam, and I hope that this will be a two-way exchange with our youths and professionals.
Happily, many Singaporeans love Vietnamese food and culture. In 2022, Singapore was Vietnam’s 5th largest source of tourists.
The fondness is mutual, and the Vietnamese community in Singapore has grown in the last two decades more than tenfold, now reaching 25,000 people. They have made important contributions to our multi-cultural society. I am sure our Foreign Ministers Son and Vivian still remember the delicious Indian appam prepared by a Vietnamese cook at one of our hawker centres in July.
As fellow ASEAN members, Singapore and Vietnam share a stake in the stability and prosperity of our region. With rising geopolitical tensions, we must work even closer together to maintain ASEAN Centrality and uphold the rules-based multilateral order.
All these are strong reasons that give me confidence that our relations will continue to flourish for many decades to come.
I now invite you to join me in a toast to: The continued good health and success of Prime Minister Chinh and Madam Tran; to the peace, progress and prosperity of Vietnam and Singapore; and to the enduring friendship between our two countries.
Explore recent content
Explore related topics