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Feb 22, 2022 / 21:29

Vietnamese President to become first state leader guest of Singapore since Covid-19 pandemic

The Vietnam-Singapore relations are ever-growing in terms of politics and economics and based on mutual trust.

Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc will visit Singapore on Feb 24-26 at the invitation of President Halimah Yacob, marking the first state visit that Singapore will host since the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020.

Vietnam's President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok in June 2019. Photo: Lee Hsien Loong’s Twitter  

The Vietnamese President will meet President Yacob, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and Singapore MPs at Parliament House.

President Phuc and Prime Minister Lee will witness the signing of bilateral agreements that  will further strengthen the multifaceted cooperation between Singapore and Vietnam, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

On Feb 25, President Phuc will deliver the keynote address at the Singapore-Vietnam Business Dialogue. The next day, President Phuc will visit the Sembcorp Tengeh Floating Solar Farm.

The state visit to Singapore takes place ahead commemoration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries and the 10th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership in 2023.          

Bilveer Singh from Singapore National University said the visit reaffirm, reassure, and consolidate the excellent relations between Vietnam and Singapore.

Established in 1973 and elevated to Strategic Partnership in 2013, the bilateral ties move towards a special status in addition to the private friendship between PM Phuc and PM Lee, Bilveer Singh told the Vietnam News Agency.

He said the visit that takes place in the face of the complicated Covid-19 pandemic and other unprecedented challenges worldwide is significant for both countries and reaffirms their strategic partnership.

Commenting on the two countries’ strategic partnership, the professor said it’s very close and more importantly, enhances mutual. Obviously, since 2013, the two sides have had a close connection in terms of politics, economy, and strategy.

Politically, Vietnam and Singapore are best friends in ASEAN. Economically, they are very important partners in the field of foreign direct investment and bilateral trade. In terms of strategic relations, Vietnam and Singapore are both parties to the Agreement on Defense Cooperation and at a broader multilateral level.

The two countries also share the same stance on the South China Sea issue, especially a rules-based order in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

In the context of the complicated global situation, Vietnam and Singapore, through their tightened cooperation, can maintain better relations with the US, Japan, India, Russia, and China. The two nations will greatly benefit from working together with priorities given to national security, economic development, peace, harmony, and broader security of the Southeast Asia region.

Prof. Singh noted that both countries have ways for mutual interest, which is reflected in the number of Singapore industrial parks in Vietnam. 

 VSIP Binh Duong - the first of its kind in Vietnam, operates in 1996. 

According to Singaporean Ambassador to Vietnam Jaya Ratnam, bilateral trade grew steadily over the past decade, reaching US$16.8 billion in 2020. Meanwhile, Singapore was the biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) provider in Vietnam in 2020 and the first half of 2021, being significant in the face of the global health crisis.

The tightened relations were not built overnight but for several decades, the ambassador said, noting the presence of the Vietnam-Singapore Industry Park (VSIP) in Vietnam since 1996. The good operations and strong growth of the VSIP network in Vietnam over the past 25 years have marked the substantive cooperation of the two nations in terms of economics.

So far, the number of VSIP has reached 10, covering 10,000 hectares in seven key economic zones across Vietnam namely Binh Duong, Hai Duong, Haiphong, Bac Ninh, Nghe An, and Quang Ngai. Among those, the VSIP I in Binh Duong’s Thuan An City has now become one of the leading industrial parks in Vietnam.

VSIP has supplied production infrastructure to nearly 900 clients from more than 30 countries and territories, with a total investment of US$15 billion and creating jobs for more than 300,000 local and foreign experts, engineers, and workers.