Vietnamese Ambassador to Singapore Tao Thi Thanh Huong (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –
There is substantial room for Vietnam and Singapore to further develop their strategic partnership, according to Vietnamese Ambassador to Singapore Tao Thi Thanh Huong.

The diplomat said that bilateral relations have strongly developed over the past 45 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1973.

In September 2013, the two countries issued a joint statement establishing the bilateral strategic partnership on the occasion of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s visit to Vietnam.

The two sides have achieved many practical outcomes across a wide range of fields from politics, security, defence and economy, to education and training, culture and people-to-people exchanges.

Politically, the two countries have maintained all-level delegation exchanges. Their leaders have close relations which are reinforced through meetings at multilateral forums.

In 2017, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong paid an official visit to Vietnam in March and also attended the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Da Nang in November.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc made an official visit to Singapore in April 2018 and also participated in the 32nd ASEAN Summit hosted by the nation.

Vietnam and Singapore have worked closely together in the ASEAN Community to increase their role and position in the grouping, the region, and the world at large.

They have also supported each other at regional and international forums such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the United Nations (UN), contributing to promoting regional connectivity and narrowing the development gap.

Singapore supports Vietnam to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure.

The bilateral cooperation in defence and security has been stepped up, especially in terms of naval vessel exchanges, anti-terrorism, and cyber security.

The two sides share the same stance on strategic security matters in the region, including the East Sea issue, as well as defending the common standpoint amongst ASEAN of regional peace and stability.

Vietnam and Singapore have also enhanced their capacity to cope with emerging challenges and make active contributions to regional security and development.

Along with sound political ties, the bilateral economic, trade, and investment partnership has been made stronger over the past few years.

Since 1996, Singapore has always been one of the biggest trade partners of Vietnam. At present, it is the second largest trade partner of Vietnam in ASEAN and eighth in the world. Two-way trade hit 8.3 billion USD in 2017, a year-on-year rise of 8.9 percent.

Singapore’s direct investment in Vietnam has continuously increased in recent years. It is now the biggest investor of Vietnam in ASEAN, and third globally.

As of May 2018, Singapore ran 2,048 investment projects worth 45.53 billion USD in Vietnam.
So far, Singaporean firms have poured investment in 48 out of the 63 cities and provinces in Vietnam.

Previously, Singapore primarily focused on investments in major cities and provinces with favourable socio-economic infrastructure, such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hai Phong, Binh Duong, and Bac Ninh. However, in recent years, Singaporean businesses have expanded investments into other localities including Quang Ngai, Quang Tri, Nghe An, Thai Nguyen, Thanh Hoa, and Binh Dinh.

The Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP), invested in by the Sembcorp group over the past two decades, has become symbolic of the win-win economic cooperation.

These parks have generated over 220,000 jobs for locals and developed various fields such as infrastructure, processing and manufacturing industry, construction, production, trade, property, and services.

The bilateral economic partnership could witness new movements in the time to come. Vietnam needs to boost collaboration with Singapore in the fields of digital economy, high technology, building and facilitating government, smart urban planning, e-commerce services, finance, banking, logistics, green energy, and renewable energy.

The bilateral cooperation in education and training, tourism, labour, culture, and people-to-people exchanges has been expanded, contributing to enhancing the mutual understanding of the two peoples.

Close to 9,000 Vietnamese students are learning in Singapore, serving as a bridge to promote the two countries’ friendship.

Ambassador Huong said the upcoming path still has a lot of challenges, which requires Vietnamese and Singaporean ministries, relevant departments, and localities to further cooperation to elevate the bilateral partnership to a new height. –VNA