Strengthening the close ties between Singapore and Vietnam

Update: 14:55 | 20/03/2019
Speaking with The World & Vietnam Report about the official visit to Vietnam made by Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (21-26 March) at the invitation of Vietnam Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh, Singaporean Ambassador to Vietnam Catherine Wong expressed her belief in the continued development of  the longstanding, wide-ranging and close relations between the two countries.
strengthening the close ties between singapore and vietnam Singaporean Deputy PM Teo Chee Hean to visit Vietnam next week
strengthening the close ties between singapore and vietnam Vietnam will host a successful summit: Singaporean Ambassador
strengthening the close ties between singapore and vietnam
Singaporean Ambassador to Vietnam Catherine Wong Siow Ping.

Could Your Excellency share with our readers your expectations of the visit of Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean to Vietnam?

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean will make an official visit to Vietnam from 21-26 March at the invitation of Vietnam Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh. DPM Teo will visit Hanoi; Thua Thien-Hue and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). 

He will meet several Vietnamese leaders including Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh, Chairman of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee’s Commission for Communication and Education Vo Van Thuong, Chairman of Hanoi People's Committee Nguyen Duc Chung, HCMC Party Secretary Nguyen Thien Nhan, and Thua Thien-Hue Party Secretary Le Truong Luu.

What are the meanings and contents of this visit? Will this visit enhance our bilateral relations? And in which particular sectors?

This is DPM Teo’s third visit to Vietnam in 3 years. DPM Teo’s visit aims to strengthen our already close ties. Last year, Singapore and Vietnam celebrated 45 years of bilateral relations and the 5th anniversary of our Strategic Partnership. Our close, longstanding and wide-ranging relationship is underpinned by mutual trust, shared interests, and extensive cooperation both bilaterally and in multilateral fora. DPM Teo’s visit keeps up the momentum in frequent high-level exchanges between the leaders of both countries.

strengthening the close ties between singapore and vietnam
Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh (L) and Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean met in Singapore in 14 July 2017. (Photo: Singaporean MOFA)

During his meetings with Vietnamese leaders, the two sides will discuss ways to enhance the Vietnam – Singapore Strategic Partnership, particularly in trade and investment, culture, education, innovation, security, and defence. Given our common interest in building a strong and rules-based multilateral system, they will also discuss regional and international issues of mutual concern, in particular how Singapore can support Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020. 

One key area of discussion will be how to facilitate more Singapore investments in Vietnam. Singapore is Vietnam’s third-largest foreign investor and top ASEAN investor, with a cumulative investment of more than 48 billion USD invested in more than some 2,190 projects. Singapore’s investments in Vietnam cover many sectors including real estate, manufacturing, energy, logistics and services. We have 7 Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIPs) across different locations in Vietnam. Together these industrial parks have attracted over 12.9 billion USD in investments and created more than 240,000 jobs for the Vietnamese people. 

Our companies are keen to invest more. They want to partner Vietnam in new areas such as renewable energy, start-ups, high-tech parks and smart cities. With Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang joining the ASEAN Smart Cities Network, there will be many opportunities for Singapore and Vietnam to partner each other. In this context, DPM Teo will visit Singaporean investments in Vietnam. He will officiate the unveiling of Mapletree’s V Plaza and the opening of Oakwood Residence Saigon, and visit Keppel Land’s Estella Place and Estella Heights. He will also meet and have discussions with businessmen in HCMC. 

During the visit, DPM Teo will officially open the Vietnam – Singapore Cooperation Centre (VSCC) in Hanoi. Singapore and Vietnam have a longstanding partnership in human resource development.  As a small island state with no natural resources, Singapore strongly believes that human resource development is key to a country's sustainable development and progress.

We are committed to working with Vietnam to develop its human resources. The opening of the VSCC is a part of the upgrading and re-branding of our Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) training centres, announced by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in August 2018. The VSCC represents the next phase of Singapore’s contribution to the IAI agenda and underscores Singapore’s support for regional development and resilience. This revamped Centre will facilitate a wider range of technical assistance projects, for example: sharing experiences on modern challenges such as Industry 4.0 and smart city development; urban planning projects; education services; consultancy projects and services; volunteer work and humanitarian assistance. 

While in Hanoi, DPM Teo will also officially open the inaugural Singapore Festival taking place at Ly Thai To Park from 23-24 March 2019. The Festival aims to strengthen our cultural and people-to-people ties. In the past few years, we have seen a steady increase in the number of Vietnamese tourists visiting Singapore. For the first time in 2018, Vietnam ranked among the top ten in terms of tourist arrivals to Singapore, a year-on-year growth of 11%.

The Embassy, the Singapore Tourism Board and the Hanoi People’s Committee have been working closely to organise this Festival. We hope that the Festival will bring Singapore closer to the Vietnamese people by allowing our Vietnamese friends to immerse themselves in the unique arts and culture, food, retail and tourism offerings of Singapore, and for more people to choose Singapore as a holiday destination.

In sum, DPM Teo’s forthcoming visit to Vietnam will further strengthen the excellent ties between Singapore and Vietnam on many fronts. I am optimistic about the prospect of Singapore-Vietnam bilateral relations. There are many opportunities for growth. I look forward to working closely with our Vietnamese friends to take relations to the next level! 

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