Vietnam-Singapore Relations Strengthened by Prime Minister’s Visit

The 2020 visit to Vietnam by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife (August 27-29) will mark an important milestone in the two countries' bilateral relationship. Vietnamese Ambassador to Singapore Mai Phuoc Dung recently spoke of the significance of this visit, focusing on its objectives and expected highlights.

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Singapore Prime Minister's Visit to Vietnam: Strengthening Trust And Cohesion
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in February 2023. Photo: QT

What do you expect from Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s visit to Vietnam this time on important anniversaries of the two countries – 50 years of diplomatic relations and 10 years of strategic partnership?

This official visit of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife is his fifth visit to Vietnam as Prime Minister, demonstrating the close connection and relationship between Singapore and Vietnam.

This visit is a response to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s visit to Singapore last February and also marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Singapore.

In addition to official diplomatic activities, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will also participate in important activities symbolizing economic cooperation between the two countries. The current deep and comprehensive cooperation serves as a foundation for a strong relationship in the future.

During the visit, important cooperation agreements are expected to be signed, further strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries and promoting peace and stability in the region and the world.

In 1991, Chairman of the Council of Ministers Vo Van Kiet expressed his wish for former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to serve as a senior economic adviser to the Government of Vietnam. Lee Kuan Yew visited Vietnam several times to provide advice on macroeconomic strategy, solidifying Singapore as a reliable partner and a country that Vietnam seeks to develop bilateral relations with.

What do you think about the trust foundation that has led to successful bilateral relations and economic cooperation, such as the VSIP model being replicated?

Trust has played a crucial role in the relationship between Vietnam and Singapore over the past five decades. The two countries share similar visions on economic development, security strategies, and regional and international affairs.

Cooperation between the two countries is built on mutual benefits, national interests, and a strong friendship.

The initial trust and friendship were evident when late Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet invited former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to serve as a senior economic adviser and Singapore provided support during Vietnam’s early renovation period.

Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam and Singapore have supported each other materially and spiritually. Many Vietnam-Singapore industrial parks have been replicated across the country, showcasing the political determination of both Vietnamese and Singaporean businesses.

Singapore has consistently been one of the largest foreign investors in Vietnam, and the two countries are continuing to build an equal, friendly, and mutually supportive relationship in various fields.

All of these achievements stem from the trust and spirit of friendly cooperation between Vietnam and Singapore.

Singapore Prime Minister's Visit to Vietnam: Strengthening Trust And Cohesion
Vietnamese Ambassador to Singapore Mai Phuoc Dung. Photo: VNA

Earlier this year, the two countries established a partnership in the digital economy-green economy. How will this cooperation be implemented in the near future?

During the official visit of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his wife to Singapore in February, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a partnership in the digital economy-green economy. The two countries are currently working on implementing this agreement.

They are exchanging and negotiating specific cooperation contents related to development, digital government connection, digital economy, and digital society.

On the Vietnamese side, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has signed a decision to establish an interdisciplinary working group to implement the Memorandum of Understanding, which is expected to provide strong momentum for its implementation in Vietnam.

Rosie Nguyen