Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (L) meets with Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob (Photo: VNA)

Singapore (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh met with Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister  Lee Hsien Loong on July 31 as part of his ongoing official visit to the country.

President Halimah Yacob noted with pleasure the positive development of the Vietnam-Singapore relationship after the two countries established their bilateral diplomatic ties 45 years ago and the Strategic Partnership five years back.

She highlighted the effective cooperation in various areas between the two countries, especially in tourism and people-to-people exchange, citing nearly 300,000 Singaporean tourists to Vietnam so far this year and more than 140 direct flights per week.

The leader thanked Vietnam for its support to and close cooperation with Singapore in 2018 when the latter assumes the post of the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

As the ASEAN Chair, Singapore wishes to promote an ASEAN of unity, self-reliance and creativity, she said, adding that ASEAN should take the lead in grasping trends of the present era to serve development goals, narrow the development gap and effectively overcome security challenges.

Minh conveyed President Tran Dai Quang’s invitation to the President and her spouse to soon pay an official visit to Vietnam.

He stressed that Singapore is always Vietnam’s leading trade and investment partner, with two-way trade hitting 8.6 billion USD and Singapore’s total investment capital in Vietnam reaching 43 billion USD in 2017, affirming that Vietnam will continue to coordinate with Singaporean partners to maintain the pace.

[Photo: Deputy PM Pham Binh Minh on official visit to Singapore]

At a meeting with Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong, Minh reiterated Vietnam’s consistent policy of always attaching importance to the Strategic Partnership between the two countries.

He thanked Singapore for going along with Vietnam in its development and integration, especially Singapore’s support in high-quality personnel training and its sharing of experience in macro management.

Minh described the success of nine Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks in Vietnam as a symbol and model of the bilateral ties and suggested Singapore shift investment to the technology sector, thus matching trends of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

In response, PM Lee Hsien Loong said Minh’s suggestion also matches Singapore’s investment trend.

He recalled PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Singapore last April, during which the two sides agreed to step up cooperation in such new areas as smart urban and renewable energy and pushed to build a number of high-tech zones in Vietnam in the time ahead.

Talking about regional and international cooperation, host and guest emphasised the need to ensure the principles of maintaining peace, stability, security, and navigation and aviation safety and freedom in the East Sea, as well as handling disputes by peaceful measures and respecting international law.

They also consented to promote the common voice and the central role of ASEAN in the evolving regional structure.

Minh spoke highly of the successes Singapore has reaped as the ASEAN Chair, as well as the sharing of viewpoints and common interests of the two sides in many strategic issues, including those on promoting free trade, and regional and international economic connectivity and integration.

Besides, the two sides have closely coordinated with each other in ratifying and bringing into effect the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to which both are signatories, he noted.

The Singaporean leader said the Vietnam-Singapore Strategic Partnership is one of the most effective and trustworthy relations as the two sides share many interests, both bilaterally and multilaterally. -VNA