The relationship between Vietnam and Singapore has been growing very steadily, at a very healthy level, affirmed Singapore Minister of Foreign Affairs K. Shanmugam.

“Vietnam-Singapore relationship is excellent at both levels of leadership and people-to-people,” Shanmugam said in his interview granted to a Vietnam News Agency correspondent in Singapore on the occasion of the 40 th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties (August 1, 1973-3013).

Vietnam and Singapore , for decades, have forged a close relationship and understanding on worldview, reflected by regular visits and exchanges between the two countries’ high-ranking leaders, he said.

Meanwhile, their people-to-people relationship is very strong, he added.

According to the minister, Singapore is the second largest investor in Vietnam with its investment amounting to 30 billion USD.

“We have this Connectivity Framework Agreement which has allowed the economic relationship between the two countries to increase very substantially,” he said.

At present, Singapore has four industrial parks in Vietnam and the fifth one will be coming up soon this year, he said, adding that there are nearly 140,000 Vietnamese employed in companies in those parks, including 450 from over 20 countries.

Regarding public sector cooperation, under the Singapore Cooperation Programme, nearly 14,000 Vietnamese have benefited from training, he stated.

“So at the people-to-people level and at the Government level, it is a very strong relationship within ASEAN,” Shanmugam affirmed.

As Vietnam and Singapore are heading for Strategic Partnership this year, the minister said the steady and healthy relationship between Vietnam and Singapore gives an appropriate base and a framework for the two countries to elevate the relationship to a Strategic Partnership.

“This Strategic Partnership allows our two countries to come closer together and cooperate even more on the economic front, on a front of greater connectivity, greater interactions,” he noted.

According to Minister Shanmugam, to achieve the common goal of establishing the ASEAN Community by 2015, Singapore and Vietnam should focus on three pillars, including economics, politics and socio-culture.

“More physical connectivity, more people-to-people connectivity will allow us both to understand each other’s culture, benefit from it, but also compete internationally in economic terms,” he concluded.-VNA