Singapore and Australian leaders to review 10-year strategic partnership

Ministers of Singapore and Australia are meeting in Sydney on Friday (Mar18) to review the progress of a strategic partnership, nearly nine months after the pact was inked (june 29).

The partnership could see new levels of cooperation in defence, the economy, foreign affairs, and arts and culture.

Under the 10-year roadmap of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership signed by then Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last June(2015), there will be better access and integration of the two countries' financial and capital markets. A new defence agreement and a review of the Singapore-Australia trade agreement are also set to be concluded by July this year.

Tomorrow's biennial meeting will be co-chaired by Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop. Also present will be Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang and Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen.

Australia will also be represented by Minister for Defence Marise Payne, Minister for Trade and Investment Steven Ciobo and Special Envoy for Trade Andrew Robb.

The one-day visit would provide an opportunity to build on the "positive momentum from Minister Balakrishnan's introductory visit to Australia from Mar 3 to 4", the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday(Mar 17).

During his visit earlier this month, Dr Balakrishnan met Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and other Australian officials. Both sides have agreed to further cooperate in innovation, research and development and smart cities.

joycel@sph.com.sg