Transcript of speech by PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Official Dinner hosted in honour of Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Wednesday, 25 April 2018.
Your Excellency Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
May I offer a very warm welcome to Prime Minister Phuc, Madam Tran Nguyet Thu and the delegation to Singapore. I am very happy to reciprocate the warm hospitality extended to me and Ho Ching during our bilateral visit and also at the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting last year.
This is the Prime Minister’s introductory visit to Singapore as Prime Minister. But in fact he is very familiar with Singapore, because Prime Minister, you are a very old friend. You spent some time studying economics at the National University of Singapore in the early 1990s. You visited Singapore in 2015 as a Lee Kuan Yew Exchange Fellow, and your visit marks the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations as well as the 5th year of our Strategic Partnership.
Singapore and Vietnam enjoy excellent economic ties. Under Prime Minister Phuc’s leadership, Vietnam has continued to promote pro-business policies. Our seven Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks are doing well. More than 720 companies from 30 economies, with investment capital valued at more than USD9 billion, have invested, generating about 180,000 jobs from the operating tenants. Now, Singapore companies investing in Vietnam are looking beyond the traditional model of industrial parks to develop high-tech innovation parks in Vietnam.
But our partnership goes beyond economic cooperation. Today, we signed six MOUs covering a range of issues from water and waste management, LNG development, renewable energy, trade standards, banking supervision and Fintech.
Singapore has been a strong supporter of Vietnam’s human resource development. Over 18,000 Vietnamese officials have participated in the Singapore Cooperation Programme since it started in 1992. Singapore will continue to share our experiences with Vietnam’s officials, provinces and municipalities.
Our two countries are also working closely on sustainable development. NParks is working together with the Hanoi People’s Committee on greenery planting. We support Hanoi’s plan to plant one million trees over the next five years. We hope to see more green spaces like the area around Hoan Kiem Lake in future when next I visit Hanoi.
Singapore and Vietnam also share a common outlook on many regional issues. We see the need to uphold the multilateral trading system and to maintain ASEAN’s relevance and centrality.
Both countries recently signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership and we are working on concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Prime Minister Phuc will also attend the ASEAN Summit in a few days’ time. As the ASEAN Chair, Singapore has proposed to form an ASEAN Smart Cities Network. Vietnam has nominated Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang to this Network. I visited all three cities during my two visits to Vietnam last year. I was very impressed with their rapid urban development. Their inclusion to the Smart Cities Network will add to ASEAN’s vibrancy.
Prime Minister, Vietnam and Singapore have been close partners both bilaterally and regionally. Our friendship has strengthened over the last 45 years. And it will only grow stronger given the many bilateral and regional initiatives that we are pursuing.
I therefore wish the Prime Minister and your delegation a fruitful visit. Now Prime Minister, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, may I invite you to join me in a toast to the good health and success of the Prime Minister, Mdm Thu and his delegation; and the close and enduring friendship between Singapore and Vietnam.
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