Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) and his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong in Singapore on April 25 (Photo: VNA)

Singapore (VNA) – Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and President Halimah Yacob and PM Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore have expressed their satisfaction with the vigorous growth in the two countries' relations in recent years, especially since the establishment of a strategic partnership five years ago.

The Vietnamese leader paid a courtesy call to the Singaporean President and had talks with his counterpart on April 25.

At the events, the Singaporean leaders welcomed PM Phuc’s first official visit to Singapore, stressing that the trip is a milestone in the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties and five years of the strategic partnership.

They congratulated Vietnam on multiple development achievements and spoke highly of the country’s resolve to build an incorruptible and growth enabling government.

PM Phuc congratulated Singapore on remaining an economic highlight of the region and always taking the lead in new economic and scientific trends in the world.

Both sides noted that their countries’ cooperation has developed stably in all aspects on the basis of the trustworthy political relationship. Singapore is always one of the top 10 trade partners and the third biggest investor of Vietnam with 2,000 projects worth 43 billion USD.

During their talks, PMs Phuc and Lee sought ways to grasp opportunities of regional economic links generated by the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to which both Vietnam and Singapore are signatories, and the fourth industrial revolution.

Host and guest agreed to maintain political trust and ties through all-level delegation exchanges via the Party, State, Government, National Assembly and people-to-people exchange channels.

The two sides will join hands to organise the 45th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties and the 5th anniversary of the strategic partnership, especially cultural programmes and people-to-people exchanges.

They will also increase consultations and expand cooperation between parties, while stepping up affiliation in national defence and security, with attention paid to practical collaboration between naval, aviation and search and rescue forces, and in defence technology.

They agreed to coordinate with each other in settling common security challenges such as piracy and terrorism, ensuring navigation security and safety, as well as cyber security.

In the sphere of economy, PM Lee Hsien Loong pledged that Singapore will increase its investments in Vietnam in new, high-tech, high-value and environmentally friendly areas like clean energy, waste treatment, water resources management, and high-tech park and smart city building. 

[Photos: Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on official visit to Singapore]

Singapore stands ready to share its experience with and support Vietnam in building seaports and developing logistic services and high-tech agriculture, and invest in Vietnamese technological start-ups, he said, noting that Singapore will consider facilitating the access of Vietnamese exports, especially agro-forestry-fishery products, to the Singaporean market.

Stressing the significance of cooperation in personnel training, the host affirmed that Singapore will increase scholarships for Vietnamese students and help Vietnam with English language teaching and labour training.

The two sides recognised the new strides in cooperation in connectivity promotion, finance and science-technology, which have greatly contributed to their countries’ economic development. They agreed to expand connections in these potential fields through increasing flights linking big cities of Vietnam like Da Lat and Nha Trang with Singapore. They will further cooperate in the management of the financial and stock markets and supporting big Vietnamese businesses in listing on the stock market. The countries are also set to step up initiatives and joint projects on innovation and intellectual property, while working together to commercialise intellectual property, share the application of patents, and provide training in intellectual property.

Aside from bilateral cooperation, the two PMs also discussed international and regional issues of shared concern. They pledged to enhance bilateral ties at international forums, especially within the framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the United Nations.

PM Phuc affirmed that Vietnam supports and is ready to coordinate with Singapore in ASEAN Year 2018 to consolidate ASEAN’s solidarity and central role in the region, towards building a resilient, innovative and united ASEAN that plays a central role in the region and the world.

At the talks, the two sides affirmed the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the region along with freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, not threatening to use or using force, respecting all diplomatic and legal processes, peacefully resolving disputes on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

They reiterated their support for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and early finalisation of an effective and binding Code of Conduct (COC) of parties in the waters.

The meeting and the talks took place in a friendly and straightforward manner with mutual understanding.

On this occasion, the two PMs approved a joint statement on the visit and witnessed the signing of several cooperation deals, including a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on technical cooperation in environmental and water issues between Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Singapore’s Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, and another MoU on cooperation in standards and conformance areas between Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology and Singapore’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

The State Bank of Vietnam and the Monetary Authority of Singapore also signed a MoU on financial innovation and another on cooperation and information exchange in banking inspection and supervision. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade and Singapore’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry inked MoUs on cooperation in renewable energy and in investing and developing liquefied natural gas import projects.

On April 25 evening, PM Phuc, his spouse and the high-ranking delegation of Vietnam attended a banquet hosted by Singaporean PM Lee and his spouse at the Istana Palace.-VNA