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May 30, 2020 / 07:58

Singapore PM congratulates Vietnam on handling of Covid-19

PM Lee is among ASEAN leaders calling for unity in the regional battle against the coronavirus.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has congratulated his Vietnamese counterpart on Vietnam's fight against the pandemic that he called “decisive handling”, the Straits Times has reported.

 Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok in June 2019. Source: MCI Photo by Fyrol via Lee Hsien Loong Facebook

“I congratulated Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Vietnam’s decisive handling of the Covid-19 pandemic when we spoke this afternoon. I thanked him too, for Vietnam’s generous donations of face masks and test kits to Singapore,” Lee said in a Facebook post Friday.

“We agreed that amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, we must continue to strengthen our cooperation, and keep markets open and supply chains connected,” said Mr. Lee, who added that he is happy both countries are deepening their collaboration in agri-trade for the supply of rice and other food products.

“We will also explore reopening borders for essential travel safely and gradually, when the time is right. Singapore will also continue to support Vietnam’s ASEAN chairmanship. I look forward to deepening our excellent ties,” he added.

Vietnam’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has drawn international praise. The country, which has confirmed 327 cases and zero deaths from Covid-19, eased its social distancing orders last month and reopened the economy.

In the fight against the pandemic, ASEAN leaders, including PM Lee, have called for unity as the region battles the coronavirus pandemic.

During the Special ASEAN Summit on Covid-19 which PM Phuc chaired last month, PM Lee called on his counterparts in the virtual meeting to maintain trade among themselves and persuade their partners to keep trade flowing, even as the global network of trade begins to fracture under stress.

At the summit, he also called for the adoption of clear guidelines across ASEAN so that in dealing with crises like the present, the region has “a balanced, rational approach that takes into account both health and economic considerations”.

Vietnam has made efforts to drive the ASEAN through the coronavirus storm by taking action to promote its responsive and cohesive leadership as the ASEAN Chair.

Hanoi has activated all virtual channels available to keep the bloc discussions ongoing.

Vietnam has actively engaged in multi-directional diplomacy, both in its national capacity and as the ASEAN Chair, to keep external partners informed and supportive of its own and ASEAN efforts to fight the disease, Hoang Thi Ha, lead researcher on Political & Security Affairs at the ASEAN Studies Center, ISEAS Yusof-Ishak Institute, Singapore, said in an article on The Diplomat.